The AR device space has gradually matured to the point where buzz about a hot-new device is not necessarily enough. Consumers demand hardware upgrades and refinement of software with each new release. The new iteration of the Microsoft HoloLens is no exception. The first Microsoft Hololens was released in 2016, and it is now speculated that the next generation Microsoft HoloLens is set to dawn sometime in the second quarter of 2019, according to people familiar with the companies plans.
As revolutionary as it is, the original HoloLens is starting to its show age. Not on its own, but the likes of Magic Leap One are highlighting the slits and wrinkles in the almost 4 year old Microsoft AR device. The company’s initial plans had the latter part of 2018 in mind although some reports did projected early 2019, however development difficulties have proven more persistent than expected. Having overcome the hurdles, the next Microsoft HoloLens, better known as Sidney within the company, is set to air towards the middle of next year, with a $3000 price tag, no bigger than the current Hololens developer edition.
As for the development, Microsoft has been pretty open about what to expect from a new HoloLens. Build 2018 brought many details to light regarding the looks and tech behind it. The next Microsoft HoloLens will likely be a smaller device, which comes as a no surprise given the current AR eyewear build trend. It is also going to be thinner, with improved field of view, have a better battery life, and run on a second generation holographic processing unit. The performance increase will be huge, particularly in daytime usage. These are all industry-required moves. What sets the new HoloLens apart is the better light engine and a localized AI co-processor with significantly improved sensors.
There is a healthy amount of competitive pressure on Microsoft’s shoulders to deliver a stellar product. More companies are shifting to AR; such as the previously stealth-mode Magic Leap, which has finally come out with its own piece of hardware. Also, it is not all that fanciful that Google and Apple will plunge deep into MR waters. Google Glass project cannot be brushed aside due to inactivity; the project has lent much MR experience to Google engineers. Apple too is playing with AR every chance it gets. IPhone is getting a plethora of AR apps and features, and it is only a matter of time before we welcome the Apple MR headset.
With all the players cards in hand, Microsoft had better relied on its pack and delivered a definitive head-mount device. As a pioneer in AR headset space, it has a point to prove. The best way to prove it is by cutting the price of the next HoloLens to a consumer-friendly tag. We hear that it will certainly go below the current $3000. It had better, while also the quality compromises are not something that Microsoft can afford in this climate.
We can consider the next Microsoft HoloLens a third iteration of the device, since the second one went through a major revision. With this in mind, the improvements requirements (and hopefully, delivery) is a must for Microsoft. Hold back our wishes (and wallets) in the meantime, we won’t have to wait long.