Sunday at 9 am Pacific Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, CVP Julia White and Technical Fellow Alex Kipman will kick off Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. We expect announcements detailing Microsoft’s next steps with AR and VR technology and HoloLens.
Microsoft refers to the entire spectrum of AR and VR technology as “Mixed Reality.” You can watch the presentation live on Microsoft’s website.
Microsoft aims to enable developers to build apps for both types of devices through a single release on Windows. In 2016, Microsoft released HoloLens as a standalone AR headset with a see-through display. In 2017, the company released its 6dof tracking technology to manufacturing partners. As a result, manufacturing partners like Acer, Dell and HP built VR headsets featuring opaque displays.
Windows Holographic To Mixed Reality
After the VR headsets from partners, Microsoft got quiet building out the next generation of hardware. Throughout 2017 and 2018 the company improved the software running both HoloLens and the Windows-based VR headsets. In 2018, Microsoft secured a huge contract with the United States military supplying next generation AR technology based on HoloLens to the Army. We’ve known for some time Microsoft was targeting 2019 for the next version of its HoloLens and that’s the focus of our expectations for Sunday.
We talked to Kipman around the same time Oculus shipped its Touch controllers for Rift in late 2016. He shared the following about Microsoft’s long-term plans. Maybe there’s a hint in here of what is to come.
“Now you can squint and you look to the future,” Kipman said. “At some point in the near future all devices will be able to do all of it. The devices will be able to go fully opaque. They will be able to remain fully see through. They will require no setup. And they will allow you to have access to high-end compute in an ambulatory type of way. Where you can have portability and walk around from room to room. So if HoloLens sets up as Microsoft first-party devices always set up for the highest water mark device in a category…what we then do is take those innovations and we bring them to the ecosystem for scale. 6dof being the first…of those technologies that we bring to the ecosystem…[you] should imagine that spatial mapping, eye tracking and any number of these technologies would follow suit.”
If you don’t feel like watching the stream we’ll have updates for you here on Sunday.