Microsoft Will Let You Try the Surface Hub for 30 Days Before Making a Purchase

By Juan Martinez Features PCmag

Microsoft isn't disclosing sales figures just yet but did say that more than 2,000 customers in 24 markets have bought the collaboration and videoconferencing device, with an average deal size of 50 units.

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For companies interested in purchasing a Surface Hub, Microsoft has also introduced a "Try and Buy" program, which allows resellers to let customers test the device for 30 days before committing to buy. The program will go live this winter in the US and Europe. Users can test either the 55- or 84-inch devices before making a purchase decision.

Microsoft is also working on a program that will let users work with resellers to implement custom installations of the Surface Hub, dubbed Value Added Distributors for Opportunity Resellers or VADOR. For example: customers and resellers can design distinct audio/visual setups for large conference rooms, or customers can work with resellers to provide continuous training for their respective workforces. The intent is for customers to work with one specific partner to buy, install, train employees, and customize use cases for the Surface Hub, said Julia Atalla, Senior Director of Surface Commercial Marketing at Microsoft.

 

 

New Features

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The Surface Hub will now include inking support across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as support for simultaneous Pen and Touch. Microsoft's PowerBI, OneDrive, and Photos applications will now be pre-loaded onto every Surface Hub.

Microsoft said it is ramping up sales of the $8,999, 55-inch, full HD model and the $21,999, 84-inch, 4K model. Today's announcement comes at an important time for the manufacturer. Last month, Google introduced its own collaboration kiosk—Google Jamboard—which is built on Google's G Suite collaboration platform.

Jamboard is an unabashed Microsoft Surface Hub competitor, however Jamboard is also only $6,000, and it comes standard with 55-inch 4K monitor, which means Microsoft will be facing stiff competition for customers who haven't tied themselves to the Windows ecosystem. Jamboard is scheduled to be released at some point in 2017.

 

What is the Surface Hub?

 

For those who are still wondering why someone would dish out $8,999 for a large format tablet, the Surface Hub is a revolutionary category-creating device that will change the way your staffers work. Users are able to do everything from project a laptop screen onto the Hub while making permanent marks and edits to the document, to direct on-screen video annotation, to creating custom applications for large format viewing and collaboration.

The Hub is especially useful for training employees and conducting large-scale Windows-based operations across regions.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.