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Windows Core OS for Surface Hub 2 isn’t coming anytime soon

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Microsoft has finally addressed the whereabouts of it’s mythical Surface Hub 2X device, which was announced in 2018 as coming in 2020 with a new OS that enabled unique features such as tiling, dynamic rotation, and more. In a webinar aimed at customers and resellers, Microsoft says that focus has shifted over to delivering the 85-inch Surface Hub 2S, and that it doesn’t anticipate releasing a Surface Hub 2X this year.

Initially, Microsoft was planning to ship the Surface Hub 2X with a new OS called Windows Core, a modular platform that both HoloLens 2 and Surface Neo are based upon. Unfortunately, it appears those plans have been shelved for now. Some of the unique features touted as part of the 2X will now be coming to the 2S in the form of a software update, which will be based on the existing Windows 10 Team SKU instead.

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The whole reason why Microsoft split the Surface Hub 2 into two SKUs to begin with was because Windows Core OS wasn’t something that Microsoft could deliver as an over the air update, as it’s vastly different from Windows 10 Team. Now that Windows Core OS isn’t coming to Surface Hub anytime soon, the need for a Surface Hub 2X is no longer necessary.

Today, both Surface Hub V1 and Surface Hub 2S are running Windows 10 Team version 1703, which was released almost three years ago. Now that Windows Core OS isn’t coming anytime soon, Microsoft will update Windows 10 Team to version 2004 for both Surface Hub 1 and 2S, and introduce features such as tiling and rotation. This is actually great news for existing Surface Hub customers.

But what does this mean for the future of Windows Core OS on the Surface Hub?

Is Windows Core OS for Hub dead?

The answer isn’t entirely clear. Microsoft itself is unsure if it’ll ship a Surface Hub 2X in the future, stating that it “may or may not” do so at some point down the line. It does appear to be leaving the door open, but it’s clear that there are no immediate plans to move Surface Hub over to the modern Windows Core OS platform, and is instead focused on updating Windows 10 Team with new features and improvements.

The question now is: why has Microsoft halted plans to ship Windows Core OS on the Surface Hub 2? I don’t have a concrete answer, however, I was told back in December that Microsoft had deprecated the version of Windows Core OS that it was working on for Surface Hub 2X, but that we could still see a Surface Hub 2X ship with a variant of Windows 10X (which is also based on Windows Core OS) in the future. I don’t know if that’s still the case.

If I had to guess, Microsoft just doesn’t deem it necessary to move the Surface Hub to Windows Core OS at this time. Windows Core OS is a lightweight platform that shines on mobile devices like Surface Neo and HoloLens 2. While there are benefits to running Windows Core OS on any kind of device, it’s likely none of those reasons are super important for Microsoft to prioritize shipping it on a device like the Surface Hub 2.

It’s also possible that development on Windows Core OS is behind, but that doesn’t explain the deprecation of the variant of Windows Core OS that Microsoft was building for Surface Hub 2. I’ll be interested to see if down the line, we end up seeing a Surface Hub running a variant of Windows 10X. Microsoft may even want to wait until the Surface Hub 3 before it attempts to bring Surface Hub into the Windows Core OS family.

Microsoft tells us that it will have more to share regarding Surface Hub in the coming months. In the meantime, are you a Surface Hub customer? What are your thoughts on this change of plan? Let us know in the comments.

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