After a convoluted pre-order and shipping date process, Microsoft has announced a more concrete shipping date for its upcoming conferencing tool, the Surface Hub. As of now, those who pre-ordered the Surface Hub will have to wait until January 1, 2016, before the device is shipped according to a ZDNet report.
Microsoft debuted its Surface Hub conferencing tool during its Windows 10 related event in January. The company then highlighted the Surface Hub again during its developer conference in April and enticed device specific application development with a $25,000 research grant awarded to competitive researchers. At the beginning of July, Microsoft began taking pre-orders for the 55-inch and 84-inch Intel-based Surface Hubs. At the time, Microsoft readied itself for a September 1 release date.
“Based on the early interest we see, we’re tuning our manufacturing process to prepare for production at broader scale. To do this, we are adjusting our product roll-out schedule to ensure we deliver a great customer experience and set our partners up for success. We will not start shipping on September 1 now.”
However, Microsoft had to pull quickly back on its original plan of worldwide shipments beginning in September due to the unanticipated high demand for the device. According to Angela Hlavka, CTO of Microsoft Partner Collaboration Solutions Inc, orders had been coming in since the press release in July and Microsoft had been receiving “significant demand”. The orders were apparently high enough to alter Microsoft’s plan for production yet a second time.
The Surface Hub is designed with enterprise as its primary audience. The Hub offers a custom based version of Window 10, OneNote, Office and Skype for Business pre-installed as well as customized multi-touch, various camera outputs, and digital ink enabled collaboration systems. While the demand for the Surface Hub is encouraging for Microsoft, the company needs to seize the opportunity before a lower cost or more feature-packed alternative slips into the market.
Interested parties can still pre-order Surface Hubs at 55-inch, Intel i5 for $6,999 (ESRP) and 84-inch, Intel i7 for $19,999 (ESRP).