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Modern Workplace Mar 11, 2020

The Surface Hub 2S roadmap – A glimpse into the future.

Although Microsoft’s latest flagship all-in-one for meeting rooms, Surface Hub 2S, has been on the market since April 2019, much has happened since then. Even experts were surprised to learn, during the release of the current 50.5" Surface Hub 2S, that an 85" version would be offered later on. An intriguing sounding X module was also announced, which was expected to debut before the end of 2020 with heavily advertised features. Microsoft called this strategy "future-proof".

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Tepid response causes X module to be postponed.

The idea was to make enabling the new X module’s features as easy as possible by providing an insertable cartridge, similar to an old Super Nintendo console. This would make it possible to connect up to three additional Surface Hubs while also supporting an updated Windows 10X-based user interface and fluid 180° screen rotation, which awed guests at Microsoft Ignite. Based on recent announcements, however, these plans seem to have been put on ice by Microsoft for the time being. A modified roadmap for the Surface Hub 2S was communicated not too long ago to Microsoft partners worldwide.


While compelling customer feedback received over the course of the year urged Microsoft to speed up development of the 85" Surface Hub,  customers were hardly enthusiastic about the X module’s ability to connect up to three additional Surface Hubs thanks to the module cartridge, which had been touted as revolutionary. In addition, the decision to postpone the screen’s fluid 180° rotation until introduction of the X module was met with disappointment. Microsoft has since responded by tweaking its future Surface Hub strategy and is already applying it directly to devices.


Improved performance thanks to major OS update for Windows 10 Team.

The Surface Hub will receive a major update for the Windows 10 Team operating system before the end of the first quarter of 2020, replacing the somewhat outdated version currently in use, which is based on Windows 10, version 1709. This will improve performance substantially and provide a smoother Surface Hub experience, as the Hub 2S routinely suffered from long refresh and wait times.


Conditional access support before the end of 2020.

The update announcement was accompanied by a pledge to fix problems with the device’s Azure AD joins and single sign-on behaviour. Native support for conditional access on the Hub was also included in the roadmap, putting an end to groups for CA policy exceptions. These changes alone should put customers in a good mood, but there’s more. In response to customer demand, the pared down meeting client, based on Microsoft Teams, will be enhanced—and rumour has it that the Hub will soon feature a fully-fledged Teams client. In addition, fluid 180° screen rotation will no longer be exclusive to the X module. A further OS update in late 2020 will enable rotation at no extra cost and without requiring additional hardware.


Autopilot support announced.

Other features such as autopilot support, which was previously reserved for the X module, will gradually be added through regular updates. In general, the Surface Hub 2S is expected to integrate more fully into the world of Microsoft 365 and its services by the end of the year. It’s unclear when the X module, which has not yet been abandoned, will be brought on the market and what features it will have up its sleeve. Select customers around the world are currently testing the 85" Hub 2, but no specifics have been given on the technical scope of this larger version. What we do know is that Microsoft will likely price it similarly to the 84" Surface Hub 1. Overall, however, the Surface Hub will continue to be the flagship solution for meetings in Microsoft’s Surface portfolio, and users will be able to manage and deploy it exactly as they would Teams Rooms devices, which are not necessarily Microsoft products.      


Roadmap highlights:

  • X module has been put on hold by Microsoft
  • Major OS update for Windows 10 Team
  • Azure AD join support with single sign-on
  • Conditional access support before end of 2020
  • Autopilot support before end of 2020
  • Fluid 180° screen rotation, independent of X module, before end of 2020
  • Full Microsoft Teams client on Surface Hub announced



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