Microsoft is getting a lot of good press for its redesigned Surface tablets, especially the Surface Book. I’m sure they’re nice machines, but I find it hard to get too excited about tablets these days. Instead, I’m seriously Jonesing for Microsoft’s other Surface, the Surface Hub, which finally started shipping last week.
OK, so the Surface Hub—which starts at $9,000—isn’t exactly an impulse purchase. But the giant Windows 10 touch-screen device is so awesome, I really, really, wish I had some at my day job, as well as one to play around with at home. In fact, forget the puny 55-inch entry level model, I want the $22,000 84-inch version. I mean, if you’re gonna go big, you might as well go as big as possible, right? (Buy Microsoft Surface Hub on the Microsoft Store.)
Initial reviews indicate the machine is impressive and functions well, but folks aren’t totally clear on what exactly they would do with the Surface Hub. I don’t have that problem. I’d do everything on it!
Sure, I’d be happy to hang one on the wall for collaboration in meetings, but I’d also use it for my email, spreadsheets, multimedia editing, even to watch cat videos. Just as with smartphones, from my perspective, bigger is better for just about anything you want to do with a computing device. If you’ve got the scratch, and the space, why wouldn’t you want to use the biggest, coolest device you could get your hands on?
In many cases, that extra real estate can be as transformative as a brand new technology. Think about it. The relatively larger screens on the early smartphones changed the game compared to feature phones, which often had similar functionality that simply wasn’t usable without the bigger screen. Similarly it’s been shown that large-screen phablets encourage users to do more with their devices than folks stuck with smaller-screen devices.
The only argument against size is the lack of portability (and affordability, of course). But wall mounted devices aren’t going anywhere, so why not take advantage of that fact to make it as powerful, visible, capable, and sharable as possible.
More than just a large-screen monitor
Many of the conference rooms in my workplace are equipped with large-screen monitors, and they’re great for letting one person share with others. But even with clever conferencing systems, they’re still pretty much one person at a time. The Surface Hub is designed to make it easy for multiple people to share at the same time, and I think that’s awesome.
I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to actually own one of these puppies (I don’t have $22,000 burning a hole in my pocket), but I hope we start to see these kinds of devices in business settings.
At least, it certainly looks like a lot of fun on the cheesy cop show Hawaii Five-0, which enjoys heavy Microsoft product placement and features a table-top device that sure seems to be channeling the Surface Hub. It helps them solve bizarre crimes every week, so it should be great for product planning and quarterly forecasting, right?