Microsoft's 'room-scale' Ginormonitor probably not as big as a room

Inspire attendees paw at not-quite-a-Surface-Hub kit

Lovers of big screens in boardrooms, rejoice! The first of Microsoft's Ginormonitors (aka Windows Collaboration Displays) has arrived at Redmond's partner shindig in Las Vegas.

The device, made by UK-based manufacturer Avocor, is the first in Microsoft's range of big screens aimed at users unwilling, or unable, to fork out for a Surface Hub. To stop those customers looking at less expensive options, such as Google's Jamboard, the software giant hopes that big touchscreens into which users plug their own Windows 10-based computers will fill the gap between Hub and traditional whiteboard.

The Avocor hardware follows Microsoft's guidelines for its ginormonitors, featuring far-field mics, speakers, cameras and a pen, for all that inky collaborative goodness. IoT connectivity bleats the state of the device back to Azure for administrators to study and the screens come equipped with a single USB-C connector. Handy for plugging in a Windows 10 PC unless you have one of Microsoft's own devices, in which case you'll likely need a dongle. Oops.

Equipped with a 20-point touch display, the screen would be ideal for an expensive, if brief, game of Twister, or more likely as a tool for teams or classrooms of students to paw at. It is anyone's guess how big the 60Hz, 4K display actually is. All Avocor would say was that it is "room scale", which frankly could mean anything. The company was equally coy when asked about the price and availability of the thing, simply saying it would be launched "later this summer".

Microsoft will be relieved to see manufacturers beginning to make good on the promise of Windows Collaboration Displays, and those same manufacturers will be eyeing the niche carved out by the Surface Hub and seeking their own piece of the action.

Customers, on the other hand, may be delighted to have another way of drawing crude representations of body parts on boards in the minutes before a meeting.

After all, isn't that what whiteboards are really for? ®

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