The future of Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality (AR) headsets appears to be in doubt. Microsoft has reportedly scrapped plans to release a third-generation HoloLens, according to a report from Business Insider. Sources within Microsoft are cited in the storey, with one saying that the current iteration of HoloLens hardware may be coming to an end.
The problem stems from Microsoft’s lack of direction. Using HoloLens technology, the company has recently been awarded a government contract to develop a “Integrated Visual Augmentation System” (IVAS). However, Microsoft’s efforts have not met expectations, and the company is now split. Others, like HoloLens chief Alex Kipman, believe Microsoft should keep its focus on the enterprise and contracts like the IVAS rather than bringing HoloLens to consumers.
The report also stated that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella prefers to develop software for the metaverse that other companies can use in AR and MR headsets, rather than build the hardware himself. It’s been reported that Microsoft has attempted a partnership with Samsung to build hardware that runs Microsoft’s software, but the partnership has not gone anywhere, with Microsoft seemingly unwilling to let another company use the display technology it developed for the HoloLens..
Intriguingly, Qualcomm announced just a few months ago that it was working with Microsoft to develop an AR chipset. However, according to a report published by Business Insider, the company scrapped plans for HoloLens 3 back in July. As a result of this, it appears that Microsoft is partnering with Qualcomm to develop a chip that it will not use. Microsoft and Intel have previously collaborated on the SQ series processors for the Surface Pro X family.
With regard to its own software products, Microsoft has been particularly intrigued by what is known as the metaverse. During Build 2021, the company unveiled its Mesh platform, which aims to make it easier for people to interact in a virtual world. It was recently announced that Mesh would be made available to Teams in order to improve communication and collaboration.
This apparent lack of focus is reminiscent of what we learned about Cortana just a short time ago. There were internal conflicts about what to add next, and what started out as a promising digital assistant that could have been a major driving force for Windows phones ended up fading away into obscurity.” The HoloLens was Microsoft’s first public AR headset in 2015, but the company is now falling behind major competitors like Meta in the consumer market. In the meantime, we’ll have to wait and see if Microsoft has actually given up on the HoloLens 3 or if it’s still in the works.###