Microsoft Shows Off Surface Hub 2S Modular Processor Upgrade Cartridge

Surface Hub 2
One of the most intriguing things about the evolution of Microsoft's Surface Hub is that one of the upcoming models will be upgradeable. Specifically, the Surface Hub 2S that is slated to arrive next year will feature a modular processor cartridge that users will be able to swap out and upgrade to the Surface Hub 2X.

The Surface Hub 2X is coming out in 2020 and is being billed as a "true" second-generation variant of the Surface Hub. To prevent users from having buyers remorse with the more immediate Surface Hub 2S, or even worse, to avoid it altogether, Microsoft decided to make it easy to upgrade the device's core components.

Microsoft Surface Hub 2S Processor Cartridge
Source: The Verge via Microsoft

Just like foundation of a PC, the processor cartridge for the Surface Hub 2S contains the CPU, system memory, and motherboard. The removable cartridge seamlessly slips into a circular disc on the back of the Surface Hub 2S. You can think of it as an all-in-one PC, as that's essentially what it is. However, instead of removing the back panel to upgrade certain components, you just stick a new cartridge inside. Easy-cheesy.

This also has the benefit of making repairs an easy affair. If the memory dies or the motherboard goes belly, a new cartridge would bring the Surface Hub 2S back to life.

"Looking forward to 2020, we will release updates to the Surface Hub family to enable customers to update to Surface Hub 2X. This includes the ability to tile, rotate, and enable multi user log in. This simple update is enabled by our design of removable processor cartridges, in an easily accessible hardware chassis on the back of the Surface Hub 2. This processor cartridge can be removed, upgraded and serviced over time," Microsoft explains.

This is a clever strategy, and one that Microsoft can get away with implementing on a device like the Surface Hub. It wouldn't be practical on something like the Surface Pro, as nobody wants to lug around a 2-in-1 PC with a bulge in the back. But on a larger device like the Surface Hub, we can see how this approach makes sense.