Microsoft Kicks Off Surface Hub 3 Sales

Microsoft announced this week that its Surface Hub 3 videoconferencing device is now shipping.

Surface Hub 3 is Microsoft's successor to the Surface Hub 2S product (the proposed "Surface Hub 2X" device wasn't built). The Surface Hub 3 device is described as delivering a "60% CPU performance increase, and a 160% GPU graphics performance increase gen-on-gen." It has a Smart Rotation capability to switch the screen orientation from landscape to portrait, the ability to handle inking with two pens, and a "Front Row" view feature that puts remote meeting participants at eye level.

Microsoft also indicated that the Surface Hub 3 is "built on Windows 11 IoT Enterprise" operating system. It integrates with "Microsoft Teams Rooms," which is Microsoft's term for partner-built Teams videoconferencing gear. Microsoft lately has been saying that Surface Hub 3 offers the "Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows experience," which is a bit confusing, but it appears to signify that Surface Hub 3 and partner-built Teams Rooms devices have similar capabilities.

Microsoft offers a Surface Hub 3 50-inch touch-screen model, as well as an 85-inch touch screen model for large rooms (see image). The stand used for wheeling the devices, namely the Steelcase Roam Mobile Monitor Stand, is a separate purchase.

[Click on image for larger view.] Figure 1. Surface Hub 3 (source: Microsoft).

Surface Hub 3 is said to be currently available from reseller partners. However, at press time, some of those vendor sites were not updated to show the new product. Reseller Insight listed a 50-inch Surface Hub 3 for $9,482.99. Reseller Connection listed the 85-inch Surface Hub 3 at $25,586.95, but it was "temporarily out of stock."

Copilot in Whiteboard
Surface Hub 3 also has a Copilot in Whiteboard capability, which is described as helping presenters generate ideas as they ink them on the electronic Whiteboard, as well as organize those ideas after a brainstorming session. However, Copilot in Whiteboard wasn't mentioned in Microsoft's Surface Hub 3 announcement.

The release status of Copilot in Whiteboard wasn't clear from a scan of Microsoft's documentation. It's available at some release state, though, per this support document:

Copilot in Whiteboard is available in the Whiteboard desktop app, web browser, iPad, and Teams client to users with a Copilot for Microsoft 365 license.

Unmentioned was Copilot in Whiteboard's availability in Surface Hub 3.

Surface Hub 2S Upgrade Options
Surface Hub 2S devices are getting some upgrade possibilities.

It's possible for Surface Hub 2S users to buy a Surface Hub 3 Pack, which is a curved hardware cartridge that screws into the back of Surface Hub 2S devices, upgrading them into Surface Hub 3 devices. Microsoft claims that this Pack will convert a Surface Hub 2S device into a true Surface Hub 3 device, per this FAQ document.

While the Surface Hub 3 Pack comes with a one-year warranty, installing it won't change the warranty terms for a Surface Hub 2S device, the FAQ further explained.

Microsoft also plans to offer a software upgrade capability for Surface Hub 2S devices that will switch them to the "Teams Rooms on Windows new experience," which will be "available early next year," according to this "What's New" document.

Surface Hub 3 IT Perks
Microsoft is touting Surface Hub 3 as having security via "BitLocker, Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM), and cloud-powered security with Microsoft Defender," per the "What's New" document.

Organizations can manage and set policies for Surface Hub 3 via Microsoft Endpoint Manager. They can monitor the device's "room health status" using the "Microsoft Teams Admin Center and the Pro Management Portal."

Microsoft also mentioned that it'll be possible to use Windows Autopilot, Microsoft's "touchless" device deployment solution, to deploy "Teams Rooms on Windows" devices in this Microsoft Ignite presentation (at about 9 minutes). An Autologin feature also will be coming.

Surface Hub 3 was said in the Ignite presentation to already have the Windows Autopilot deployment capability "out of the box." However, this feature wasn't described in Microsoft's announcement and "What's New" document.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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