Microsoft is making its Windows Holographic platform available to its hardware partners who want to build mixed-reality displays, accessories and devices. To unpack this, we need to step back and get more precise about a bunch of terms we Microsoft watchers -- and Microsoft itself, even -- have been using (improperly) interchangeably up until now. Microsoft's HoloLens goggles are an example of an augmented reality (AR) device that is centered around Windows Holographic. But Microsoft officials said today at Computex 2016 that the company isn't just limiting the Windows 10 variant tuned to work with HoloLens -- a k a, the Windows Holographic platform -- to the HoloLens. As of today, it's official that Microsoft is opening up the Windows Holographic platform to any companies that want to build devices that can handle "mixed reality."
Microsoft's HoloLens aims to'to break the walls between humans and technology' by superimposing a holographic display onto a wearer's vision. Orders for the augmented reality goggles started at the end of March, and now Microsoft is hoping to make them available to a wider audience. Its operating system, named Windows Holographic, is being opened to partners interested in building devices for'mixed reality' experiences. Microsoft's HoloLens aims to'to break the walls between humans and technology' by superimposing a holographic display onto a wearer's vision. Devices built on the Windows platform will be interoperable.
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Microsoft's "HoloLens" is a pair of mixed reality smartglasses that have a variety of applications. The glasses can be used to create holograms of 3-D objects that users can place and scale around them, can be used for immersive simulation-based training and recording short video clips for simple mixed-reality presentations. Furthermore, the device has recently received certification as protective eyewear, and thus the device can now be sold to manufacturing companies to be used by their front-line factory workers or in the field. The product will be priced commercially for $5,000, and is now able to be sold in 29 new countries, which Microsoft expects will expand its reach to an estimated total of more than two billion "first line" workers.
At Microsoft's Build conference this week, Microsoft set up what it calls a "shared immersive experience": a group of HoloLens users perched high up in a virtual sky, directing another group of mixed-reality users on the "ground" through a short maze. It's easy to see this as a metaphor to describe the relationship between the two devices. And in some ways, it works. Microsoft's HoloLens is priced at a lofty $3,000 for commercial partners and developers; mixed-reality devices are literally a tenth of the price, or $300. I'm cautiously impressed with the Acer Mixed Reality Developer Edition that will be sold as a consumer device this holiday, but it could still learn a trick or two from the HoloLens.