Should Microsoft create a consumer-focused HoloLens?
It's unclear if a HoloLens 3 is on the way, but we can still debate how Microsoft should focus its mixed reality efforts.
Microsoft's HoloLens could be in danger, according to a troubling report that emerged this week. According to more than 20 current and former Microsoft employees that spoke with Business Insider, Microsoft's HoloLens division is in disarray. The same report claims that HoloLens 3 was canceled in mid-2021, Microsoft's $22 billion contract with the military is behind schedule due to inadequate development progress, and there's a dispute within the company regarding the market that Microsoft should focus on.
Alex Kipman, Microsoft technical fellow and head of Microsoft's HoloLens division, disputed the claims made in Business Insider's report. Kipman claimed that "HoloLens is doing great," though he did not address any of the other items in the report.
There's said to be a rift inside of Microsoft when it comes to the future of HoloLens and Mixed Reality. It's claimed that some inside the company want to focus on consumers while others want to continue pushing exclusively toward businesses and the military. There are also alleged internal disagreements spawning from Microsoft's partnership with Samsung to build mixed reality devices.
This week's poll focuses on the market that Microsoft should focus on in the future. Specifically, we'd like to know if you think Microsoft should create a HoloLens built with consumers in mind.
At the moment, HoloLens 2 costs $3,500. The mixed reality headset is also aimed squarely at businesses and the military. For example, NASA uses HoloLens on several projects. Microsoft also has a $22 billion contract with the U.S. Army to create combat-ready variant headsets.
With perpetual talk of the metaverse and Apple potentially entering the mixed reality space, some have voiced interest in Microsoft rolling out a consumer-focused HoloLens. The company has worked on mixed reality for years, so it should have a head start in the space.
On the other hand, some want Microsoft to continue doing what it's doing, which is focusing its efforts on businesses and the military. While it's unclear if Microsoft makes a profit off of HoloLens at this point, the company does have several large contracts.
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Now, as disappointing as it is, I think it's a waste of time and money.
Microsoft hasn't really figured out how to work the consumer side of things. I'm not sure if it's a lack of interest or simply bad management, but they seem to blow it almost always when they try to enter the consumer space. The only notable exception is Xbox and some of the Surface lineup.
But even there, they weren't able to drive kinect and the lack of effort on the Duo (no updates, no communication) shows that they aren't suited for the consumer space. It would take a serious realignment of Microsoft to become a viable player in that segment and since the focus is clearly on the money making enterprise sector, I just don't see that happening. While they seem to always keep trying, in the end there's not enough follow through to make it stick.
The hardware is too expensive and too limited.
At some point there might be a use for a day-to-day HUD, perhaps as an extension on a phone, existing gadgets are too bulky and too pricey.
In a decade things might be different and we'll all wear shades everywhere but they'll have to down in weight and price and go up in capability and battery life.
You could compare the HL2 with some professional headset Meta releases. But I understand MS are ahead in creating and selling a professional AR product, and have been for years.
I've been a Microsoft Fanboy most of my life but unfortunately Satya Nadella is nothing more but a shareholder pleaser.
And if the reports are correct he seems content to let the entire seven years of augmented reality research and development to go down the crapper without even trying.
So they're goes Microsofts hardware and software operating system. 💩
this really sucks.
But which future?
Tomorrow? Next year? Next decade?
Remember video phones? Everybody knew they were the future since the 60's. Sixty years later and they're only now *starting* to hit the mainstream. As for MS, nobody can be everything to everybody.
For now they are doing fine in institutional productivity and consumer productivity and entertainment.
There's no need to do consumer AR any time soon. MS likes to lead hardware but it is only be a year or three, max. Consumer AR is at least a decade away. This needs to arrive first: https://opg.optica.org/oe/fulltext.cfm?uri=oe-29-7-10568&id=449380
I don't think they're abandoning the HL nor XR, at all.
Hololens is a niche but a marginally profitable one. And that DOD contract looks to be more than marginally profitable.
Hololens glasses? They don't exist so you can't kill what doesn't exist. On the flip side, they'd be stupid not to see where the tech is.
The poll is limited by being binary, especially with the preceding question as on what Microsoft should focus. Microsoft has done and still does a lot of things well. It is an enterprise that is not just focussing on one thing. It is about synergy too. It is obvious that there is a lot if potential for professional use of Hololens, which should take its course.
Then next, of course, MR has superb potential in gaming. That is where they can compete with Meta Oculus and more. I don't think we are in the era yet that headsets will catch on with the general public.
1. Less privacy
2. Taking too much space
3. Limited portability
4. Limited field of view (vertically and horizontally), limited screen estate.
Eventually TV technology will be replaced by glasses. Not necessary VR - it is just different kind of portable display. Financially glasses make sense. Office space, home space, portability - these are financial incentives of investing in this technology. Somebody will achieve it first. If not Oculus, then Sony or LG.
Microsoft MUST invest in software, but if they are discontinuing Hololens, then they must take Xbox as production model - designed by Microsoft, produced let's say by Sony, AMD or Samsung. Windows must run on these glasses.
Despite being impressive, technology is not on par with the asked price yet.
But they should release a consumer oriented VR headset, with pass through for AR It wouldn't be a hololens, but it would be more on par with what the current market needs: an affordable device allowing both AR and VR: noone will buy 2 of those, and most (if not all) consumer usages are currently VR. This would make MS occupy the market untill a real AR headset is ready for consumers. If they don't, someone else will take that spot and will have a better position when the technology will be here.
If they or somebody else wants to occupy whatever market exists, they'll let them. First movers get swept aside all the time. (Just ask Sony how their ebook venture played out, or Diamond over their MP3 players.) There's lots more money to be made, near term, in health (NUANCE!) and gaming (ACTIVISION!) than in squatting on an immature market that isn't ready. People keep buzzing anout Apple VR being two teRs away ever since Google glass. They also buzzed about Apple SmartTV and Apple car and now an Apple gaming console. Of all those, the console is the most likely and it's not very. Apple prefers to be a close follower not a pioneer with arrows in their back. MS does take chances but calculated ones.
That hololens is a niche product for institutional verticals tells us where they see the money. And it isn't in consumer.
Market isn't huge, but still, it exists, it's growing, and companies are making profit there.
MS has one of the best positions (windows/xbox) to be a key player, and has already spent the initial investment (kinect/wmr/hololens).
They can either retire, having "lost" that investment, and restarting late in a few years, having to catch up with competitors.
Or become a key player (sony is one just with the bad playstationvr), and be already on one of the top positions when the market skyrockets.
It would need to be cheaper.
Microsoft would need to spend a lot of time developing out the ecostytem, including producing a system that is useful for the average person.
It needs to work flawlessly.
The field of vision needs to be 100% so it can function as AR and VR.
It would need to possibly link to xbox... the more users on the platform the more likely to succeed. I have considered a hololens 2 purchase only because I want/need virtual displays, but hololens is overpriced and overkill for this kind of usage. (the lenovo thinkreality is better priced but needs beefy hardware to run it)
MS isn't after the afluent "first kid on the block" market; they're going after the $200 console--1080p TV family market. And the kid bedroom/dormroom market.
Way more of the latter two than the former. When that changes, they'll move, just as they ignored OnLive until they saw a model that made economic sense (i.e., $$$) in cloud gaming as a feature of Gamepass rather than a standalone product. Until then, consumer VR/AR from MS is a nonstarter. It's not as if they need it today, unlike Facebook, which is a one trick pony in desperate need of new revenue streams.
One thing is clear that hololens is dead but a complete new device will be prepared. That's why Qualcomm partnership is happening. I am excited to see what they reveal in future because Microsoft may want to fully dominate this market.
Do we want it? Yeah, I'd love to see it. But it doesn't mean it would succeed. The whole industry and a great part of the public actively want MS to fail on everything they release. They love to hate them. This is only part of what happens. Hardware markets are already locked down, be it smartphone OS or VR, whatever.