On December 23, 2022
Microsoft exec tease Hololens follow-up, after a bumpy 2022
Last week, in an official Microsoft Hololens 2 blog post, Microsoft’s Vice President of Mixed Reality (MR), Scott Evans, alluded to a new headset iteration in the near future – when the technology is ready.
No one wants to be obsoleted for 10% better capabilities. They don’t need a successor yet, but they want to know it will be there at the right time. According to Microsoft, the firm’s internal development team focuses on improving the Hololens’ display, tracking, sensors, and battery life.
Evans explained that Microsoft is looking for the right design point for the Hololens 3 to solve – a meaningful update. Microsoft aims to design a Hololens 2 successor device that enables end-users a higher return on investment.
A Tough Year for the Hololens
A repeating story of 2022 was the struggle of immersive technology firms following the Metaverse media buzz, which Meta and tech media leaders propelled to the public forefront.
In 2022 stock declines affected many social media and extended reality (XR) firms like Snap Inc and Meta, putting a halt to many developments.
Due to international economic downturns, major XR firms are cancelling or scaling back the production of many immersive products.
One affected firm is Microsoft. The leading technology giant put its immersive stakes in the ground when it first debuted the powerful Hololens mixed reality (MR) headset.
For Microsoft, alternative issues are prevailing, which is hampering the development of Microsoft’s frontline, enterprise-grade Hololens immersive product portfolio.
In June, Microsoft’s ex-head of Hololens and MR Alex Kipman resigned from his position following numerous reports of unethical behaviour.
Following Kipman’s departure, Microsoft moved Hololens’ management and development duties to the firm’s Windows & Devices organisation. Since the reshuffle, Microsoft has put the future of the Hololens on hold as the company inks deal with major immersive firms like Meta to port its digital collaboration tools onto the Meta Quest Pro.
Moreover, before the reshuffle of the internal Hololens research and development (R&D) team, the Hololens 3 device faced an uncertain future due to a lack of international direction.
The Hololens development teams suffered losses as core design members jumped ship to Meta. At the time, reports even emerged suggesting Microsoft cancelled the upcoming third iteration of its MR device.
Scott Evans has since calmed those rumours with his most recent comments.
Who is Still Using the Hololens?
Many end-clients still employ the Hololens portfolio to suit a range of vertical use cases, such as healthcare training, remote guidance, and onsite repair operations. Although due to many 2022 shortcomings, the device’s future is in limbo as Microsoft regains ground in a busy XR marketplace.
In a statement made alongside Evans’, David Kleiner, Toyota Motors’s Lead of North America’s Applied Technology Research Lab, also noted how his represented firm often employs Hololens devices onsite for frontline employees.
Kleiner explained how six U.S. Toyota Logistics Centers use Hololens devices for hands-free training, guidance, and collaboration. The Lead said that Toyota’s key metric is speed and the Hololens device allows the automotive firm to hit its internal development goals.
Additionally, Kleiner noted how the Hololens device has Microsoft’s Dynamic Guides service. According to the representative, Guides is the most significant “killer mixed reality app” available on the market.
The Toyota representative ended the statement by saying:
[The Hololens 2 is] easy to maintain, and it allows our workers to participate in the larger conversation, regardless of rank or team structure. Everyone has a voice now.