Microsoft CEO’s AR/VR Vision and What It Means for HoloLens 2
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shared his vision for the future of AR/VR during an interview at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, California. He emphasized that Microsoft is all-in on augmented and virtual reality, because it is where the future of computing is headed. Nadella also shared that HoloLens 2 will be a “major upgrade” and will have several new features. According to him, the HoloLens 2 will be packed with AI, will be modular, will be untethered, and will also feature better holographic resolution. Looking more closely, we can expect the HoloLens 2 to further build upon the original device’s AI-powered capabilities, like the ability to recognize objects and have them represented as a virtual overlay. It also means that it could have more processing power and be more versatile, as it could run more than one holographic app at a time — something the first HoloLens did not do. Microsoft HoloLens 2
New Hardware Features Coming to HoloLens 2
The new HoloLens will have a slimmer design and will be lighter, quieter, and more comfortable to wear. We might also see a new design combination that could offer a wider field of view, allowing more content to be shown in a room at once, while also improving the device’s ability to track and recognize objects. Holographic resolution will also be a key feature of the upcoming headset, allowing more details to be shown and more realistic experiences to be created. This means that HoloLens 2 could have even higher and more accurate fidelity than the original device, which was already impressive.
Mixed Reality Office
Microsoft is already experimenting with the idea of mixed reality inside of offices. To start, they are giving Microsoft Office 365 subscribers access to an experimental HoloLens app that lets you create and edit virtual Microsoft Word documents from your desk. Over the coming months and years, we could see more and more Office apps and services being expanded to AR/VR. That could include the ability to create and edit documents in virtual reality, collaborate on projects or presentations in virtual meetings, and manage your files and other office resources from a virtual assistant like Cortana. This would also make it possible to keep track of your work from a remote desk as if you were actually sitting there, without having to switch between different apps or open a different browser window.
Windows Holographic Support
HoloLens 2 would be able to run Windows 10 in the headset, which would give it access to the full ecosystem of Windows apps, games, and services. By running on a mobile platform, HoloLens 2 will also be able to take advantage of Windows Mixed Reality. This will allow it to work seamlessly with an experience like Windows 10’s mixed-reality haptic device, the Microsoft Holographic Input Device (HID), which helps to bring physical objects to life.
Microsoft’s Virtual Assistants and Cortana in the Mix
As we recently shared, Microsoft announced plans to bring Cortana to the Chinese market. The company also recently launched a virtual assistant for Microsoft Teams that can help teams be more productive. HoloLens 2 could make the experience even more immersive, as it could be connected to the team chat inside Microsoft Teams. To help users get the most out of their HoloLens 2 experience, Cortana could use her AI capabilities to create virtual assistance and access to apps, as well as help with reminders, alarms, and other voice-activated functions. Users could also have Cortana read news to them, give them directions, and more.
By the end of this year, we should get a better idea of what we can expect from HoloLens 2. Then, we can start to speculate if the device will have the right mix of hardware and software features to compete with the likes of VR devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. In the mean time, it is important to remember that Microsoft has a proven track record of building bleeding-edge headsets, as evidenced by their original HoloLens. At the same time, they are still trying to figure out how to make a mark in a competitive market, and their experience in the wearable tech market could help them navigate those challenges.