Microsoft Unveils New Member Of Surface Computer Family, But It Won't Fit In Your Briefcase

At Microsoft's Windows 10 event Wednesday, the software giant gave attendees a sneak peek at Surface Hub, a giant touch-screen display that looks poised to shake up the meeting room whiteboard industry.

Surface Hub is based on hardware from Microsoft's 2012 acquisition of Perceptive Pixel, a maker of large displays for government, broadcast and higher-education organizations.

Microsoft has basically taken these displays and turned them into actual computers that run Windows 10. They're equipped with video cameras, microphones and speakers, along with Skype For Business and a specially designed version of OneNote that turns the screen into a giant whiteboard that can be drawn on with a stylus.

[Related: Microsoft Teases 'Windows-As-A-Service', But It's Not Talking About Windows 365]

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At the event, Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Operating Systems Group, described Surface Hub as "a new device to unlock the power of groups in the workplace."

Emilie Hersh, CEO of Interknowlogy, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based Microsoft partner that was an early adopter of the table-sized Surface touch-screen computer, sees Surface Hub as a powerful content creation and collaboration tool.

"Having a very specific story around meetings will fill a niche in the market," Hersh said. The fact that Microsoft is also building apps for Surface Hub should make it even more appealing, she added.

Users can also connect smartphones and tablets to Surface Hub and share content on the big screen during meetings. Once a meeting is over, Surface Hub automatically gathers all whiteboard material and other content, emails it to attendees and erases everything so it's ready for the next meeting.

Microsoft said Surface Hub, which is available in 55-inch and 84-inch models, will hit the market sometime later this year.

Microsoft isn't saying how much Surface Hub will cost or how it will be sold. But since this is a product that fits well into the type of collaborative offerings that many Microsoft partners currently sell, it seems likely that partners will play a role in its distribution.