Microsoft first unveiled its futuristic mixed reality headset ‘HoloLens’ back in early 2015 and has since been working on upgrading it to release a new second-gen iteration. But, citing sources aware of internal developments, Thurrott suggest that the Redmond giant is skipping on the said release and jumping straight to version 3.
The HoloLens is possibly the only mixed reality headset available on the market, that packs all necessary hardware within the headset itself. Thus, it does not require any additional computing power to operate the headset (which is currently unknown for its rival Magic Leap). The headsets have long been available to developers and enthusiasts at a hefty $3,000 price tag and now selling in thousands.
Since then, Microsoft has made minor improvements to the underlying hardware and software technologies of the Hololens. It was possibly gearing up to introduce these changes to the developers at their upcoming developer conference. But, Redmond now seems to have tweaked their roadmap to completely eliminate the second-generation Hololens. It is now planning to introduce substantial changes to the platform with a third-generation headset in 2019.
This move from Microsoft could most likely be aimed at cutting costs aimed towards the development of the second version. Instead of building a new product with minimal changes and releasing it to the consumers, it is now planning to expedite the development of its technology to release a massively upgraded version of the current Hololens. Releasing the second-gen HoloLens could divert their attention towards the production, thus, further, delaying the development of the third-gen variant.
Also, another possible reason for Microsoft delaying the launch of a new Hololens headset could be the lack of a worthy competitor. Not to boast about their technology but the Redmond giant is currently way ahead of its competitors, who haven’t even released any consumer-ready product as of yet. This general fact has also been confirmed by several analysts and first-hand users of their rival’s products.
Further, Microsoft is currently not willing to offer any information on their HoloLens-related plans. And in a statement sent to the publication, a spokesperson says,
Mixed reality is the future of computing, and Microsoft HoloLens is the future and present of mixed reality. Our commitment requires no roadmap.
This change in their roadmap (even though it doesn’t require one) might be announced at the Build’17 conference. And it could also be aimed at making users as well as developers more comfortable with the idea of augmented reality (which is expected to grow in coming years).
Then, in 2019, when the market is ripe, Microsoft reportedly plans to drop their first-ever consumer-ready HoloLens, which are not only aimed at improvements on the hardware front but also on the pricing front. And the crowd might go crazy to get their hands on this product — it could be a pretty neat strategy for Microsoft!