HoloLens - Hands-on with the Windows Holographic May 2016 Update

Earlier today, Microsoft pushed out the first update for their HoloLens Development Edition to all users lucky enough to own one. Since HoloLens runs a version of Windows 10, this update comes as a standard Windows Update found under Settings.

The actual changelog for the May 2016 update is massive with many small and useful additions added.

Since you can only record up to five minutes of video, this one is short, and maybe I'll follow up with another later on.

Disclaimer: HoloLens can only record video at 720P. However, I'm quite confident that this update also introduces some software video stabilization, which is why it now looks smoother. However, if you know anything about SW stabilization you will know it does this by cropping the video dynamically reducing the overall resolution. As a result, this video is not quite 720P. Please keep in mind that wearing the HoloLens is very different than what you see regarding the quality of the experience. It's a lot of processing to do holograms and record video at the same time, after all!

With that note out of the way in the video I demonstrate a few useful features, including:

  • You can now run multiple flat apps, up to three at the same time. This enables endless use cases for multi-tasking in HoloLens We've added a bunch of new voice commands: Try looking at a hologram and rotate it by saying "Face me"; Change its size by saying "Bigger" / "Smaller"
  • You can also pin photos without the app bar in your world
  • Groove Music app is now on HoloLens. Visit the store to download it and try playing in the background

Overall, this is a very significant update, and if you are lucky enough to try or use HoloLens, you'll appreciate how it feels even more like a holographic PC that you could use for real work.

For instance, while you always add a Bluetooth keyboard you can also now add a Bluetooth mouse letting you use those "classic" interaction tools instead of gaze and click. If a Skype call comes in and you are doing something else Cortana chimes in and lets you know of an incoming call, and she can answer or reject it for you, which is super convenient.

We'll be doing more with this May update this week, but feel free to sound off with video requests or questions in comments and I'll see about demoing it in another video.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.