Microsoft revises its Surface Hub 2 conferencing system roadmap again

The promised Surface Hub 2X model is not coming in 2020 and may not happen at all, according to Microsoft's latest plan.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is shifting yet again its Surface Hub 2 roadmap. The latest change, which Microsoft has started communicating to partners as of late January 2020, could result in Surface Hub 2X being postponed beyond 2020 or perhaps removed from the roadmap all together.

Late last week, Petri.com reported that Microsoft had delayed significantly or possibly decided not to ship at all its Surface Hub 2X model. On Feb. 1, Microsoft sleuth Walking Cat posted clips from a recent Microsoft partner webinar that confirmed that roadmap shift.

In the fall of 2018, Microsoft officials said they would be staggering the delivery of the Surface Hub 2 conferencing system. At that time, officials -- claiming customer demand -- said they'd be delivering a Surface Hub 2S version in calendar 2019, which would not provide tiling and display rotation. Those features would come later as part of a newer Surface Hub 2X model, as well as be available to 2S users via a paid "cartridge"/module upgrade, Microsoft execs said.

Microsoft began shipping the 50-inch model of Surface Hub 2S in June 2019, with a starting price of $9,000.

Microsoft is still planning to ship in calendar 2020 its promised 85-inch Surface Hub 2S conferencing system. It also still is planning to ship the separate Surface Hub display (with no built-in compute) which it announced a year ago, according to the webinar information from The Cat.

Microsoft also is planning to deliver the promised It management, integration, and deployment capabilities that officials said would arrive as part of 2X in 2020 later this year. Those capabilities will be part of a "major" Windows update for the Surface Hub 1 and 2S devices. This OS update will be based on Windows 10 20H1, according to information shared in the partner webinar. This new Surface Hub OS will be supported until 2025, meaning it will be like a longer-term servicing branch, and, seemingly, won't force users to take twice-yearly feature updates. 

When the Surface Hub 2 initially was unveiled n 2018, Microsoft execs said these devices would be running Microsoft 365, meaning Windows, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility + Security.

There definitely will be no new cartridge coming for Surface Hub 2S users this year, officials told webinar attendees. Tiling and rotation "may or may not be" delivered via a new product (Surface Hub 2X) or a new cartridge, officials added. It sounds like Microsoft still intends (hopes?) to deliver these features, but there's no new publicly available time frame as to when they will be.ready. One of my contacts said that Microsoft has been having compatibility issues around the cartridge, and this is the real reason for the delay.

Microsoft's official statement about what's going on doesn't include almost any of these details. When I asked about the Surface Hub 2X roadmap, a company spokesperson said: 

"We have an ongoing dialogue with our customers on Hub and are working to align the road map to best meet their needs. The top two priorities for Hub in 2020 are deploying the 85" device and rolling out an OS update that includes many top features customers have been requesting since Surface Hub 2S launched, including improving IT integration, deployment, and management capabilities at no cost for all version 1 Hubs and Hub 2S devices. We'll have more to share in the coming months."

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