HoloLens 3 isn't happening and metaverse tie-in strategy is unclear, says report

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

What you need to know

  • Microsoft's HoloLens has made waves in the news thanks to recent successes such as its U.S. Army IVAS contract.
  • At the same time, it's been documented that HoloLens team members have been jumping ship to rival companies such as Meta.
  • A new report reveals the company's headset endeavors may be more troubled than previously thought, and that a potential HoloLens 3 is no longer in the works.

Microsoft has done a lot with HoloLens and its successor, HoloLens 2, in the time both products have been available to the public. However, even with the line's accomplishments, a HoloLens 3 may not be in the cards.

According to a report by Business Insider, HoloLens 3 has been scrapped by Microsoft and the HoloLens team is trapped in a state of perpetual confusion and uncertainty over what the long-term goals of existing plans are. As a result, teammates are leaving Microsoft to pursue augmented reality positions at rival companies such as Meta, a development that was documented before this report.

Some of the HoloLens team believe the focus should remain on hardware innovation efforts, like has been seen with the U.S. Army's IVAS contract, which holds the potential to net Microsoft up to $22 billion in exchange for its delivery of soldier-attuned HoloLens variants. That project has been delayed, reportedly because Microsoft has been thus far unable to produce a combat-ready device.

Another camp of HoloLens teammates want to focus on the metaverse, a space the company allegedly still doesn't have a clear vision for. According to the sources Insider spoke with, this split in focus has resulted in constant assignment and vision changes to a point where little has time to properly cohede.

On top of those woes is the added complication of Microsoft's partnership with Samsung, which is said to be diluting the HoloLens team's focus even more by pulling resources from existing issues in need of addressing. According to one source, Samsung wants Microsoft to focus on the software side while it handles the hardware, which has not sat well with some parties. The start of this partnership marks the approximate death date of the HoloLens 3, based on the report's timeline.

What all of the aforementioned information means for the future of HoloLens remains unclear.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

  • Ever noticed how Microsoft never like the number 3 the band 3 got cancelled this hololens 3 may not be happening its a good job windows never had a 3 and the same with xbox just saying🤣
  • Sounds like Valve? Lol
  • Windows never had a 3?!
  • I don't get that either. Windows 3.0 and 3.1 are more famous than Windows 1.0 and 2.0. Maybe they are just too old.
  • Completely destroyed their own credibility with that comment lol
  • The “number 3” thing is a very recent phenomenon., and really only applies to consumer products. I would add the Duo 3 to that list. However, as others have noted, Windows 3 was the first successful version. MS-DOS 3 was a HUGE improvement over 2.1. Visual Basic 3 changed the Windows programming world. Yes, all of those are ancient. You are obviously too young to be speaking on this subject. Every MS business product had a version 3. Word, Excel, Office, SQL Server, Exchange Server. Etc.
  • Ironically Word for Windows did not: it jumped from 2 to 6 to be aligned with, at the time, current version of WordPerfect.
  • I'd say the "number 3" thing is just BS. Surface Pro 3 was the first was when Microsoft fund the magic for a portable two in one.
  • I feel the joke got lost in translation obviously they have been devices that have outlasted past 3 otherwise they wouldn't be a company still standing I understand why certain device never saw the light of day I should have known better then to post as I forgot how this community can react
  • Since your comment is clearly aimed at me, I'll indulge... But you specifically mentioned windows not having a 3. What's the joke part?
  • This is disappointing. I can't imagine how Alex Kipman is taking this. I imagine he's one of the parties unhappy that the re-assignment of hardware development.
  • They killed his first baby (Kinect), now they're going to kill his second (HoloLens). Can't blame him if he doesn't want to stick around to watch them kill a third innovation.
  • At least his Kinect tech was still alive in the HoloLens itself, and the Azure Kinect devices.
  • BTW, what about Windows Mixed Reality? Looks like it's dead. Did I miss an official death announcement?
  • No official announcement, but that WMR on Windows has been quire abandoned for years, there is just some hardware like HP making it, but it's more like due to WMR is able to interoperate with SteamVR anyways. Microsoft own push to VR has been lacklustre. They never improved with new features and any improvements, and still look unpolished. Doesn't help when Microsoft is not really supporting their own VR platform wmfrom their own gaming studios that time even recently. Though productivity aspects of VR is still much in exploration, the entertainment side of it like gaming already exist, niche but actually still have a market with potential to be more in the future.
  • Microsoft blowing another lead? I'm shocked! /s
    Unless it's Xbox, Office, Windows, or Teams, it isn't worth risking investment in a Microsoft product or platform that almost always ends up abandoned.
  • This really doesn't make sense to me. Hololen is now a profitable division with the US Defence contract and it blows the competition out of the water. I would have thought that the hololens 3 would have been a simple refresh with 5g and increase in the field of vision to near or at 100%. And why they are partnering with Samsung is totally beyond me. They have the hardware and software already as a market leader. I can understand if they decided to keep hololens as a commercial brand and get Samsung on board to produce a consumer version using the Microsoft ecosystem but why give away the keys to the kingdom. Microsoft has such a commanding lead in the AR space that they have time to perfect the hololens 3. When magic leap finally released their headset Microsoft came out with hololens 2 and was back in front instantly. They have the same opportunity now. I can only think that the research department knows something more than they are letting on and commercially it would be a bad investment to continue the product line. But with the future of tech eventually becoming part AR/VR maybe they have something better up there sleeve. But as Dan keeps saying on the podcasts AR/VR is very niche at the moment. And I would agree. Besides some business cases, VR/AR is very limited. The only user case (besides some gaming) for the average consumer I can see is virtual monitors like the lenove thinkvision, but the hololens is overkill for that productivity space. Time will tell what Microsoft has planned. Hopefully they don't misstep again like they did with phones.
  • It would be a pity to lose Alex Kipman, a true innovator.
  • Don't be surprised if he leaves
  • I can't believe this is happening Satya Nadella the complete buffoon for letting this happen .
    This is their chance to become the number one operating system again and he's blowing it
  • It's a shame that Microsoft doesn't have a stronger leader on that project. Originally Project Fortaleza, or Hololens, was meant to be a companion to Xbox like the Kinect was. If Microsoft can't envision mass appeal in business or with consumers yet, why not let it bake longer and lean into the only application Microsoft ever showed that got people truly excited? Gaming. Bring it back to the Xbox and revisit making a "holographic PC" when technology makes that more comfortable to wear all the time and competitive to real PCs and phones. When people are gaming they don't mind wearing something more bulky, that's basically the only successful area for VR right now, and until the technology becomes plausible to wear all the time and in public, leave it at the couch!
  • No company Microsofts like Microsoft. Literally develop a product, open up the possibility to the world and let your competitors take the entire market from you!
  • Hard time believing they are cancelling when they have 10 billion contract for the hololens with the US military.
  • Every time you buy a MS product. It's always like the last one.
    Maybe it's time for MS to go back and focus on software like they used to.
  • Some of us invested in HoloLens 2s for various projects...