Following its unveiling at a media event back in January, Microsoft's interactive touch screen displays for business conference rooms finally has a price and launch date. The Surface Hub will begin shipping in September priced from $6,999 for the 55-inch 1080p version, up to a whopping $19,999 for for the larger 84-inch 4K model, with preorders for both opening next month.
The device builds on the Perceptive Pixel technology Microsoft bought back in 2012 and is designed as an all-in-one replacement for the typical conference room equipment -- projector, speaker phones, webcams and all the wiring involved. Microsoft claims the Surface Hub will make meetings and brainstorms more productive, both for local and remote attendees.
Both versions of Surface Hub are capable of detecting 100 points of multitouch and up to three simultaneous pen inputs, dual 1080p front-facing video cameras, and a four-element microphone array that detects and follows voices to eliminate background noise during videoconferencing sessions. They also feature built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and a variety of ports for wired and wireless connectivity options, allowing devices to share content to the screen.
On the software side, Surface Hub runs a modified version of Windows 10 that forgoes the traditional desktop in favor of a touch friendly interface and quick access to relevant apps like OneNote and Skype. Microsoft says developers can tailor software for the device, but applications written for Microsoft’s Windows 10 universal app platform will work on the Surface Hub.
While $19,999 -- and even $6,999 -- may sound like a lot of money, Microsoft argues that’s actually about half of what companies typically spend on conferencing systems. For reference, the Perceptive Pixel displays the technology is based on, were originally priced in the $80,000 range.
Microsoft plans to sell Surface Hub through reseller partners in 24 markets around the world as well as through its own Microsoft Stores.