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Microsoft Finally Ships $8,999 Surface Hub (eweek.com) 109

An anonymous reader quotes a report from eWeek: Surface Hub, originally slated to ship last September and later missing its January 2016 release deadline, is finally being delivered to Microsoft's business customers, announced Brian Hall, general manager of Microsoft Devices Marketing, on Friday. The touch-enabled Windows 10-powered device, available in a 55-inch and a massive 84-inch model, features built-in cameras, a microphone array, Bluetooth, WiFi, motion sensors and near-field communications (NFC). It runs Skype for Business, Office and OneNote, providing an integrated collaboration experience, and at least with the 84-inch model, an expansive canvas for interactive presentations and virtual meetings. With the Surface Hub, Microsoft is making an aggressive push into the conferencing and collaboration market currently dominated by Cisco, Citrix and Polycom. "I couldn't be more proud to announce this milestone for our team, customers, and partners. We can't wait to see what people, teams and businesses will do with Surface Hub," said Hall in a March 25 announcement.
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Microsoft Finally Ships $8,999 Surface Hub

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  • by waynemcdougall ( 631415 ) <slashdot@codeworks.gen.nz> on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @12:22AM (#51797759) Homepage

    "Hey Bob. The new giant iPad has arrived."

    "Hey everyone. Come see the new giant iPad."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "One day, your computer will be a big ass table."

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @12:57AM (#51797869)

    How long does the battery last?

  • by tyme ( 6621 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @01:24AM (#51797925) Homepage Journal
    The low end model has a crappy i5, and the high end only gets you an i7, and the video resolutions are barely adequate for displays half (or a quarter) their size. You can get a 4k monitor (aka a TV) for a tenth the price, and better computers for half the price. The software better kick some royal ass or these things are going to find their way to the dumpster damn quick.
    • by Kremmy ( 793693 )
      Yup. It's a cool idea, has some neat features (100 point multitouch surface!), but there's nowhere near enough horsepower behind it. They pretty much took the tablet hardware and attached a huge display to it, adding 8 thousand to the price tag...
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      The software better kick some royal ass ...

      You do not sound like you have any experience with current MS software.

      • The software better kick some royal ass ...

        You do not sound like you have any experience with current MS software.

        Hmm, that doesn't sound quite right.

        You do not sound like you have any experience with current^H^H^H^H^H^H^H MS software.

        There we go. As is the sacred duty of attentive /. readers, FTFY.

    • > "We can't wait to see what people, teams and businesses will do with Surface Hub"

      Translation: they haven't figured out an use-case yet. This most probably means confused software at best. But I bet when you add a mouse and a keyboard, it's a solid Excel machine for the near-sighted. Or something.

      • This isn't the first iteration of this product, so there are already use cases - this iteration is a lot cheaper than the last one tho, so it should see more widespread adoption.

        • > This isn't the first iteration of this product, so there are already use case

          So this is how use cases emerge then?

          while useless {
              if not useless {
                  break;
              }
          }

    • The low end model has a crappy i5, and the high end only gets you an i7, and the video resolutions are barely adequate for displays half (or a quarter) their size. You can get a 4k monitor (aka a TV) for a tenth the price, and better computers for half the price

      You can buy a Vizio UHD at Walmart for $600.

      You can also pay $16,000 for a 31" field-use rated studio production monitor from Panasonic.

      Which is what you need when your second-unit director has 120 people waiting to hear whether he made the shot.

  • by ad454 ( 325846 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @02:14AM (#51798043)

    The Android version does not support screen sharing, so it is useless for presentations.

    The Mac and iOS versions are not stable and crash numerous times during meetings. (My record is >20 crashes in less than an hour with both clients.)

    The HTML version is also too limited.

    Even the Windows versions suffers from login issues, not present in the other ports, especially if you log in through a ADFS (Active Directory Feberation Services) corporate portal and have security restrictions.

    In the end I cannot believe how bad Lync was and Skype for Business is, compared to any other alternative, including GoToMeeting, WebEx, etc.

    If only, we were not forced to use this steaming pile of Microsoft meeting software at work.

    • I know... I was shocked that they re-branded and made it so awful! Does it work better in an all-windows environment?

      I actually told a client that we needed to re-group and use my webex account.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      In the end I cannot believe how bad Lync was and Skype for Business is, compared to any other alternative, including GoToMeeting, WebEx, etc.

      Or even just plain old Skype.

      Yes, Skype for Business is rebranded Lync, and it has NOTHING to do with the normal Skype you and I use.

      It's even worse when you use Skype because the two don't interoperate well - we had plenty of issues when we had a meeting we normally conduct using Skype and they switched to Skype for Business. Suddenly lots of things broke, including s

  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @02:52AM (#51798143)

    How is that not rendered obsolete by one of those thingies you stick to the side of a standard 80" TV to make it tactile-like?

    I don't see what this gargantuan iPad adds to a system built on:
    - a very large cheap tv.
    - one of those side-sensor thingies.
    - simple software to coalesce the image and sensor output.

    I don't know what those sensor thingies cost (we have them lying around in drawers and I just pick one up when needed), but they can't fall remotely close to $8K.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Interactive movie prop that the cast can be seen working over as the data and images move the plot along? Just dont get any of the set crew reflected back :)
      • That can also be done with the describes setup, a cheap webcam, and software. Mix the cam stream with the main image at a low opacity%.

        Never used that mixed image idea, but I remember someone suggesting it for some scrum something I clearly didn't pay enough attention to.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      You aren't just paying for the hardware, you are paying for the R&D necessary to assemble to it all into a product you can just stick on a wall and expect normal users to work with. Sure, you could build your own, but how much time would you spend doing that, and would it all work seamlessly? For example, the Hub has two cameras that it switches between automatically when video conferencing so that it doesn't have to rely on a single fisheye to get a reasonable field of view. Were you planning to knock

      • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

        55" fully integrated: $9000

        Really good 55" screen: $1000
        Touch sensor: $200
        Software: $200 (Mostly Win10 license)
        Vesa-mountable i7 PC: $1000
        Mounting material: $100
        Budget for hired team to make just one of these work: ~$6500

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Budget for hired team to make just one of these work: ~$6500

          So about 1/10th the amount needed to get a rudimentary prototype running, assuming you manage the project for free, have spare office space sitting unused, write the spec document yourself without doing any research or usability studies etc.

          I can tell already it's going to be a great product.

          • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

            I'm not talking about a product, I'm talking about installing a single screen with touch.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              I forgot to include on-going support costs. Even if you make it a one-off, you will still have all the costs associated with specifying, designing, building, testing and supporting the thing, just not the additional cost of making it manufacturable.

              • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

                Specifying, designing, building and (for a large part) testing are one-off costs.
                Supporting it are the on-going costs. I wonder if they're much higher than the costs involved with support of a specialty third party product.

    • by RobinH ( 124750 )
      Are the side-sensor things multi-touch? Does this contraption have NFC integrated into the software? Is the surface of it resilient enough for you to lean on? I highly doubt this is an apples-to-apples comparison.
      • - No multitouch.
        - No integrated NFC
        - I'd rather lean on a wall mounted TV than a $9k big tablet. Also, the surface is often a wall on which we project, so its leaning-on resilience is pretty much unmatched by any display after cave painting.

        It's not the same, but I think it's close enough to grant a cost comparison. x9 for multitouch, feels a bit steep.

    • but they can't fall remotely close to $8K.

      That depends. Do you already have a TV? If setting up a new meeting room, a new TV, commercial grade with custom bezel, mounting, remote connections for laptops, managed from a meeting room control unit from the likes of AMX, you'll be down $8k before you even look at smart features, collaboration or interactivity.

      Shit most smart whiteboards cost over $3000 and only do a fraction of what this device is capable of.

      • We had a smart board installed through a technology grant of some sort, and it cost $6000. Smart boards are way overpriced for what they are.

        For our specific one, I also found out that updates are not free, i.e. you want a newer version of the smart board software you buy it. The automatic updater helpfully doesn't tell you this though, and it invalidates your install key. And as far as I can tell, there's no way to disable the damn updater.

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      How is that not rendered obsolete by one of those thingies you stick to the side of a standard 80" TV to make it tactile-like? I don't see what this gargantuan iPad adds to a system built on: - a very large cheap tv. - one of those side-sensor thingies. - simple software to coalesce the image and sensor output.

      That completely misses the point. It's the simplicity of connectivity. If existing remote-working solutions result in folks faffing about on average for 10 minutes before they get connected up properly, and this device reduces the faffing about to less than 10 seconds, then it's a huge win.

      (I've only used a surface hub once. Although I was the first person in the room with the hub, it already knew which meeting was going to take place thanks to Exchange synchronization because the meeting room had been book

    • You like technology as a hobby and dick around with building game machines for playing "Starcraft." And yeah, you can hobble something similar to this device together, and it'll work pretty well most of the time, and you don't really need that much technical know-how to use it once you have it all set up. This is a cool device, but not anything revolutionary.

      In a business environment, people want something that works easily and well without having some guy from the IT department have to set things up or klu

  • by Enforcer-99 ( 1407855 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @03:43AM (#51798261)
    My first question for Microsoft is "why restrict what software I can use"? For example, maybe we'd prefer to use Zoom, Webex, or GotoMeeting? Perhaps we'd like to use the device for teaching and thus I need to run any number of software packages from Adobe CC, SPSS, or even Auto-CAD. Perhaps we need to browse the web with something besides Internet Explorer? Microsoft constantly jabs devices like the Chromebook/Chromebox for being limited in software options and then they run off and do exactly the same thing. Et tu Brute? I was hoping this device would end up being a nice competitor to products like the InFocus MondoPad or the Sharp Aquos but instead they've built a low-end Microsoft-only consumer device and slapped a business price tag on it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is called the "Surface Hub", but none of the above mentions any Hub-like functionality ?

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      Are you aware that the word 'hub' existed in the english language long before it took on a technical meaning? The device is supposed to be used as the 'central point' (AKA hub) of a conference room.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So will Hawaii Five-0 upgrade?

  • and at least with the 84-inch model, an expansive canvas for interactive presentations and virtual meetings

    What, a freakin' 55" screen isn't big enough to warrant being called "expansive"?

    Sheesh.

    • 55 is 'HD', 84 is 4k. So larger bitmap, slightly smaller pixels.

      I tried using a 40 inch 1080p 'Monitor'. Only good for gaming. Pixels too large. Made me a little nostalgic for my Apple ][. Eyes even older now, might try again. Bigger screen further away, higher resolution.

  • ""We can't wait to see what people, teams and businesses will do with Surface Hub"

    Install linux on it... Because if it's windows then there is very little availability of software that is multi gesture and touch capable.

    Honestly the whole software industry is pretty much ignoring touch, so now we have a $9,000 desk sized touch device that has NO real software for it for real business use.

    No CAD is touch capable, no decent document systems, etc... This will sit in the corner of a board room unused.

  • A 9000$ phone that is capable of blue screens of death, fantastic!

  • No, not on the TV. Now you can do your own annoying ridiculous CNN zooming touch maps that you mis-tap and bring up information that isn't germane to what you're talking about, but in your own conference room!

  • $9,000 for a giant-ass tablet?

    Ha ha, what a piece of shit. I'm sure we'll see them on the Home Shopping Surplus Channel this time next year.

    But I bet they'll be a kick-ass tax write-off, just like the Surface was a year or so ago.

  • It seems Microsoft has completed it's Spruce Moose. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • by Shadwhawk ( 561728 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @12:00PM (#51800345)
    Not many posters seem to realize what this device is actually for, and what its competition is. It's not meant to replace your living room TV or your monitor. Surface Hub is meant to replace 4 major devices: a computer, a projector, a conference phone, and an interactive whiteboard. Its big competitors are SMART, Promethean, Mimio, Infocus, and Sharp Aquos. Depending on size and features, their interactive displays tend to start around $3000, and are usually only replace the projector and whiteboard. Sharp's 80 inch board is $11k on Newegg, and Promethean's 84" lists at $15k.
    Sure, you can hack together a cheap solution--big $1000 TV, a cheap digitizer from China for $300, a used conference phone, and a computer, but I can definitely see the allure of an all-in-one system at a moderate price premium. It's too expensive for my classrooms, but we're already planning on replacing our SMART Boards and projectors with an interactive TV in the next year or two. If MS offered one designed (and priced) for classrooms, I'd definitely be considering it.
  • In a recent tweet, one of the tech news reviewers said the office-use MSFT Surface Hub, will in fact not meet the release date, but is delayed until July.

    It might help if your marketing and your order fulfillment and tech support departments actually talked to each other.

  • This is an old one, but still funny:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • You get a shoebox sized PC and an InFocus touchscreen, with a little piece of open source software, and get the best of both worlds Windows 10 + better than SmartBoard functionality for about $3k
  • We've had one in the office for a month or so.

    I don't see why the damned thing is so costly though. Sure, it's basically a touchscreen Smart TV (where the Smarts are Windows 10 in this case) with a wheelable stand thing. But $8999?

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