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Microsoft delays Surface Hub shipments to January

The conferencing system, essentially a gigantic tablet running Windows 10, will begin shipping on January 1, 2016, rather than September 1, 2015, as originally planned.

Microsoft's Surface Hub conferencing system won't begin shipping until January 1, 2016, company officials notified users on Wednesday.

Microsoft began taking preorders for the coming systems, a TV-tablet-computer hybrid that is geared toward office and business use, as of July 1. Originally, the plan was for Microsoft to begin shipping units worldwide starting on September 1. But in July, the company said shipments wouldn't start on that date. Microsoft attributed the delay to stronger than anticipated demand and the need to tune its manufacturing accordingly.

The evolution of Microsoft's Perceptive Pixel acquisition, the Surface Hub is an 84-inch 4K touchscreen for the workplace. Nate Ralph/CNET

The Surface Hub is Microsoft's successor to its large-screen Perceptive Pixel displays. Microsoft officials said the 55-inch, Intel Core i5-based Surface Hub model will go for $7,000 and the Intel Core i7-based 84-inch version will go for $20,000. Those are steep price tags, but Microsoft is confident the prices will be attractive to large corporations and specific industries -- such as architecture, finance and energy -- which routinely spend tens of thousands of dollars rigging up audio and video teleconferencing equipment and projector and display combos.

Microsoft says the Surface Hub systems, which will run a custom version of Windows 10, are a viable replacement for a majority of current conference room technology. It can be used to hold video and audio conference calls or it can be transformed into a whiteboard for taking notes and brainstorming. Both Surface Hub models include custom-designed versions of OneNote, Skype for Business and Microsoft's Office apps. They also will be able to run Universal Windows apps available from the unified Windows Store. Two pens and a wireless keyboard will be part of the systems out of the box, as well.

Preorders for the coming devices are continuing.

This story originally posted as "Microsoft Surface Hub to ship starting January 1, 2016" on ZDNet.