“This is the world with holograms” wasn’t a phrase I was expecting from a consumer-focused Windows 10 event, though today, following a long conversation on the latest version of Windows, Microsoft introduced a product which sounds bat-shit crazy. And they call it the HoloLens.
Basically, the HoloLens is a headset with features similar to the Occulus Rift, only instead of completely blocking our your vision with full worlds and using controllers to interact with these environments, the HoloLens instead uses cameras to recreate the real world, with an immersive augmented reality world placed on top.
And that’s pretty much all they showed, an extended demo with gimmicks and pipedreams.
Personally, I think it seems a bit stupid to think of this as an information-device, one where you’ll read your Twitter or check out Facebook. Maybe this is a strategy to get the product into homes, before offloading more realistic, less-insane use-cases, like gaming and education, onto users. And it’s a great way to get the word Microsoft into your local news bulletin.
Though it’s far more likely that this will just become a enterprise product, or a gaming device, not an education product. Microsoft has already been in talks with Take-Two Interactive, publisher of the Grand Theft Auto series, which indicates their intentions are to create a flexible platform which developers define, though in the end they’re in charge of the price, and judging by the fact that this is an all-in-one headset, with a computer inside, that’s going to be a big tag. And you could even imagine it as the killer Minecraft platform, when you consider that Microsoft now owns that brand.
Truth be told though, virtual reality seems more and more like 2005 concept-porn than anything else for now, with technology being so close and yet so far away from being available at a reasonable price. Microsoft says the HoloLens will come in the ‘Windows 10 timeframe’, though I wouldn’t count on it being a hit, or it even becoming a real release, especially considering the internals and the fact that Microsoft didn’t really show anything practical with it today. It feels like something they’d show in a lab, not something they’ll release.
Though at least now we’ll also have a new word to add to the TechGeek Style Guide: HoloHole. Stay tuned, I guess.