Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition gets its first major software update

The first major software update for the $3,000 Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition is now rolling out. It includes a number of new features and improvements for the augmented reality device, including a way to run up to three flat HoloLens apps at the same time.

Here's the massive list of what's new and improved in this May 2016 HoloLens software update:

  • You can now run multiple flat apps, up to three at the same time. This enables endless use cases for multi-tasking in HoloLens. Have the new Feedback Hub with the list of Quests open, while exploring the new features on this flight.
  • 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"; Move an app by saying "Hey Cortana, move Name here."
  • We've made developing on HoloLens easier. You can now browse, upload, and download files through the Windows Device Portal. You can access the Documents folder, Pictures folder, and the local storage for any app you side-loaded or deployed through Visual Studio.
  • The emulator now supports log-in with a Microsoft Account just like you would on a real HoloLens. You can enable this from the Additional Tools menu ">>".
  • 2D Apps now hide the holobar and cursor when watching video full screen to avoid distraction. With this, your video watching experience will be even more enjoyable on HoloLens.
  • You can also pin photos without the app bar in your world .
  • File picker works just like you expect them to on HoloLens.
  • Updated Edge browser to map unified user experience with desktop and phone. We enabled multiple instances of your browser, custom HoloLens new tab page, tab peek, and open in new windows, along with power & performance improvements.
  • Groove Music app is now on HoloLens. Visit the store to download it and try playing in the background.
  • You can easily customize how apps are arranged in your world. Try rotating your holograms in adjust mode by simply click and drag on circle in the middle vertical wireframes. You might notice holograms have tighter fitted bounding boxes to ensure maximized interaction. You can also resize all flat apps vertically (except Photos and Hologram apps).
  • We've made a lot of input improvement in this flight. You can connect a regular Bluetooth mouse to HoloLens. The clicker has been fine tuned to enable resizing & moving holograms with a clicker. Keyboard is also running better than ever.
  • Now you can take mixed reality pictures by simply pressing down the volume up + volume down simultaneously. You can also share your mixed reality captured photos & videos to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • The maximum recording length of mixed reality videos has been increased to five minutes.
  • Photos app now streams videos from OneDrive instead of having to download the entire video before playback.
  • We've improved how your holograms will be right where you left them. You will also be presented the option to re-connect to Wi-Fi and try again if HoloLens cannot detect where they are.
  • The keyboard has an improved layout for entering email address with keys that allow you to enter the most popular email domains with a single click.
  • Faster app registration and auto detection of time zone during OOBE, giving you the best first user experience.
  • Storage sense allows you to view remaining and used disk space by the system and apps in the settings app.
  • We have converged Feedback App and Inside Hub into a single app Feedback Hub that will be the go-to tool for giving us feedback, which features you love, which features you could do without, or when something could be better. When you join the Insider Program, you can keep up on get latest Insider news, rate builds and go on feedback quests from Feedback Hub.

Microsoft has also fixed a large number of bugs in this HoloLens update:

  • We fixed an issue that blocks the ability to resume a XAML application.
  • We fixed an issue where a crash would leave a black screen and some jagged lines.
  • We fixed an issue with scrolling would sometimes stick in the wrong direction when using some apps.
  • We fixed an issue with the power LEDs could indicate an off state when the device was still on.
  • We fixed an issue with WiFi could get turned off after resuming from standby.
  • We fixed an issue with the Xbox identity provider offers gamertag setup and then gets stuck in a loop.
  • We fixed an issue with the Shell occasionally crashes when selecting a downloaded file in the OneDrive File Picker.
  • We fixed an issue with pressing and holding on a link sometimes both opens a new, broken tab and opens a context menu. where windows device portal didn't allow IPD adjustments from 50 to 80
  • We fixed issues with Photos where an image would occasionally display rotated due to ignoring the EXIF orientation property.
  • We fixed issues with Photos where it could crash during start-up on pinned Photos.
  • We fixed issues with Photos where videos would restart after pausing instead of continuing from where last paused.
  • We fixed issues with Photos where replay of a shared video could be prevented if it was shared while playing.
  • We fixed issues with Photos where Mixed Reality Capture recordings would begin with 0.5-1 second of audio only feed.
  • We fixed issues with Photos where the Sync button disappears during initial OneDrive sync.
  • We fixed issues with settings where a refresh was needed when the environment changes.
  • We fixed issues with settings where 'Enter' on keyboard would not behave like clicking Next in some dialogs.
  • We fixed issues with settings where it was hard to know when the clicker failed pairing.
  • We fixed issues with settings where it could become unresponsive with WiFi disconnect and connect.
  • We fixed issues with Cortana where it could get stuck displaying the Listening UI.
  • We fixed issues with Cortana where asking "Hey Cortana, what can I say" from an exclusive mode app would get stuck if you answered maybe rather yes/no to the request to exit the app.
  • We fixed issues with Cortana where the Cortana listening UI doesn't resume correctly if you ask Cortana to go to sleep and then resume.
  • We fixed issues with Cortana where the queries "What network am I connected to?" and the "Am I connected?" could fail when the first network profile comes back with no connectivity.
  • We fixed issues with Cortana where the UI froze on "Listening" but upon exiting an app would immediately began doing speech recognition again.
  • We fixed issues with Cortana where signing out of the Cortana app wouldn't let you sign back into it until a reboot.
  • We fixed issues with Cortana where it would not launch when Mixed Reality Capture UI was active.
  • We fixed issues with Visual Studio where background task debugging did not work.
  • We fixed issues with Visual Studio where frame analysis in the graphics debugger did not work.
  • the HoloLens Emulator did not appear in the drop-down list for Visual Studio unless your project's TargetPlatformVersion was set to 10240.

Finally, Microsoft has updated its HoloLens Emulator build for developers who want to test their apps.

John Callaham