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Rumors are mounting Microsoft may release a reinvented HoloLens as soon as next month, with a teaser video from the device’s creator pointing to the possibility HoloLens 2 could be unveiled at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
So, let’s don some mixed reality eyewear and step into the possible future of HoloLens 2.
Although many others are now following suit, Microsoft was the first cab off the AR headset rank when it launched HoloLens in 2016.
At the time it was pretty futuristic and at first predominately embraced by gamers. But it also offered a tantalizing (albeit very pricey) insight into a future which could see augmented reality benefit everything from medicine to industrial design and retail.
Now, as tech commentator Brad Sams explains, everyone from the US Military to NASA and automotive engineers employ the device, and with Google, Amazon and Apple all rolling out their own versions, Microsoft is close to unveiling its second-generation edition in the form of HoloLens 2.
Here are the major rumors surrounding the big reveal...
It is widely anticipated HoloLens 2 will be revealed in 2019, but it could be as soon as this month, according to speculation.
On February 11, Microsoft’s technical fellow and HoloLens creator Alex Kipman published a cryptic video promoting the tech co’s February 24 press event the day prior to WMC Barcelona.
— Alex Kipman (@akipman) February 11, 2019
Microsoft has since revealed that not only will Kipman be in attendance, he will be joined by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and CVP Julia White.
As it’s now rare for the tech giant to attend WMC and even more unusual for the CEO to be there, it has many tipping HaloLens 2 will be revealed at the event.
The Verge notes Microsoft has now been working on HoloLens 2 for years.
“Codenamed Sydney, the headset is expected to include an improved field of view, and be a lot lighter and more comfortable to wear,” they note.
Meanwhile, it’s predicted the device will feature Microsoft’s latest generation Kinect sensor, an upgraded version of Windows 10, a custom AI chip and be powered by an ARM-based processor in the form of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor with 5G capability.
There’s also speculation HoloLens will feature Qualcomm’s XR1 VR chip.
Engadget explains: “XR1 was built with the express purpose of delivering "high quality" VR and AR experiences. The company is promising directional audio, 3D overlays and 4K video at 60 frames per second”.
There’s little word yet on how the device might look but there is a whole lot of noise on the price.
When it comes to price, HoloLens is far from a device you snap up using the small change you happen to have lying around. Current developer models start at $3K, while a full commercial edition sets users back around $5K.
Many are tipping that price is set to be significantly trimmed as Microsoft looks to compete with new offerings from the rest of the Big 4.
TechRadar bases their hypothesis on a newly found Microsoft patent that suggests the company will use one light system, rather than multiple parts to create holograms.
“This is encouraging news, as two of the biggest criticisms levelled at the original HoloLens was its chunky design and its incredibly high price,” they report.
“We’ve already heard that the Microsoft HoloLens 2 is likely to be more powerful than Google’s AR headset, and if Microsoft can fix the original HoloLen’s other major issue – a very limited field of view – then the HoloLens 2 could end up a very exciting product.”
But for now, all eyes are on Barcelona where HoloLens 2 might be among a hefty line-up of the latest mobile gadgets to be revealed.