HoloLens 2 rumored to come with Qualcomm's XR1 VR chip on board

HoloLens and Microsoft Windows logo
HoloLens and Microsoft Windows logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft is currently in the process of cooking up the next iteration of HoloLens, and we've even received some early indications of the hardware it will pack. One of the biggest changes we're expecting with HoloLens 2 is a switch from Intel to ARM, and a new rumor points to the platform Microsoft may be looking to leverage for its AI and graphics processing: Qualcomm's XR1.

Citing an anonymous source, Engadget reports that the recently announced XR1 platform, which is focused on "high quality" VR and AR experiences, will be what powers HoloLens 2.

Qualcomm first introduced the XR1 platform in May, touting it as being built for AR and VR devices, which would fit right in with a future HoloLens. The XR1 also supports head tracking, spacial sound, and 4K video at up to 60 frames per second. A dedicated AI engine is also on board for handling machine learning workloads on devices.

A focus on AI in AR

Based on what we know so far, it looks like Microsoft is looking to make a big push with AI and machine learning with HoloLens' next iteration. Last year, Microsoft confirmed that the next version of HoloLens will sport a dedicated holographic processing unit (HPU) for AI processing, giving it the ability to tackle things like image an voice recognition without relying on the cloud.

At Build 2018, the company, Microsoft technical fellow and HoloLens inventor Alex Kipman confirmed that HoloLens 2 will pack the company's Project Kinect sensor bundle, bringing new capabilities to the headset and replacing the third-generation Kinect depth sensor used in the first-generation HoloLens.

HoloLens 2 release date

There's no publicly available timeline for when HoloLens 2 will make its debut. However, Engadget's sources state that we could see it debut sometime around CES in January 2019.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl