A new world of possibilities comes to SurfaceHub2S

In Brief

  • The Surface Hub 2S now supports the installing of Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise.
  • Switching to Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise transforms the Surface Hub 2S into a more traditional PC with all the benefits such as any app and support for Windows ATP
  • The Surface Hub 2S users can also continue to use the device with its current version of Windows which is still fully supported for collab and Microsoft Teams only uses.

The detail…

Microsoft has just announced that it is making available Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise as an OS install option for the 50-inch Surface Hub 2S.

The device currently runs Windows Team edition, a flavour of Windows 10 (not too dissimilar from Windows 10 mobile) tailored for the collaboration displays such as Hub.

Why run Windows 10 Pro/Ent?

By installing Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise on the Surface Hub 2S, organisations will be able to install and run any app they choose, plug in and use and use Windows 10 compatible accessory, and even use Windows Hello Biometrics with a new dedicated Surface Hub 2 Fingerprint reader coming later in September (not seen pricing yet).

In comparison, the Windows 10 Team OS that ships on the Surface Hub 2S was purposely restricted to Microsoft Store apps (a bit like Windows 10 Mobile and event Windows 10 in ‘S’ mode) , and it supports inbuilt custom drivers only. In summary the native Windows 10 Team OS is a version of Windows that was indeed designed and optimised for multi-use and immersive collaboration experiences, but the ability to run full Windows 10 has been a big ask, especially from enterprise organisations.

Organisations can now choose whether to remain with the native SurfaceHub experience or install Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise.

Microsoft said in their blog announcement that “The Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise on Surface Hub 2 configuration enables customers to break the monotony of sitting at one’s desk all day and allows them to stand, move around and meet with remote participants more naturally and invitingly” said Yoav Barzilay, Senior Program Manager, Surface Engineering.

Microsoft released a chart showing the what get and what you loose by making the switch to full Windows 10

Remind me again.. Surface Hub is…?

The Surface Hub 2S is Microsoft’s giant collaboration display which comes with a huge massive 4K multitouch 50” screen, muti touch pen, ink and finger and is optimised for meetings in Teams, even supporting the new companion mode within Microsoft Teams.

You can read my previous blog here.

The ability to now use regular Windows 10 on it was a big ask and should be quite an experience. (I’ll let you know when I’m back in the office!)

The Surface Hub 2S costs from around £8.5k but has add on accessories such as Steel Case Roam Stand and a dedicated 2-3hr battery pack allowing it to be used wire free. Great for phsycial breakout rooms and of course education classrooms and training rooms.

How do I install Windows 10?

Microsoft have kindly published detailed instructions on how to install Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise on it on this page.

Major software updates coming for SurfaceHub 1 and 2 but Hub 2X upgrade is cancelled for now.

Microsoft has announced that they are no longer planning to release the Surface Hub 2X processor upgrade cartridge originally planed for released this year that would have allowed existing SurfaceHub2S owners to upgrade the processor and Graphics Processing Unit through a special cartridge upgrade that would enable a host of new cool features including advanced tiling, multi device tiling and fluid device rotation, essentially turning the Surface Hub 2S into what they called the SurfaceHubX

For the record, Microsoft has said they will still be developing the promised tiling and rotation features which “might not require an upgrade for Surface Hub 2S customers, or they might not require a paid compute cartridge swap,”. “We don’t have plans to release a compute cartridge in 2020, because the best way to release those capabilities — tiling and rotation – may not require us to take that path.” Microsoft have said in a leaked partner webinar.

Is not all doom and gloom though as there is actually some long awaited good news still coming for all existing SurfaceHub owners.

Huge software coming instead for SurfaceHub 1 and 2S

Microsoft are planning to release a “major software update” for Surface Hub 1 and Surface Hub 2 customers which will be based on the first 2020 release of Windows 10. This will include much needed deployment, and manageability features as well as new features for users. Microsoft have said they will be releasing this update free of charge for all Surface Hub v1 and Surface Hub 2S devices, whereas the (un unnouced) price-tag 2X processor cartridge upgrade would have only been available for Surface Hub 2S devices.

No Windows 10X OS upgrade though yet

While this update will be based on the latest Windows 10 release, it will not get (for the time being at least) Microsoft’s upcoming modern Windows Core OS platform that will power new Windows 10X devices like the upcoming Surface Neo and other manufacturer mid form and fold devices.

Microsoft’s plans to release both Surface Hub 2S display monitor for other devices to connect to is still planned for 2020, though as is the release of a new 85″ Hub 2S

Reaching out to Microsoft for an update yesterday we have been told that “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

That’s it for now.. . What are your thoughts? Do you use Hub1? What updates do you hope for the most?