Computex: Microsoft has opened up HoloLens, says partner products are coming soon

HoloLens products from partners will start to appear within the year, Microsoft said

Microsoft has opened up the platform behind its HoloLens augmented reality device, inviting partners to build their own products in different form factors and at different price points.

It means companies such as Asus, HTC and other Windows partner can now build devices for augmented reality and virtual reality using Microsoft’s technology.

HoloLens smart eyeware can layer virtual objects on top of the real world. Unlike virtual reality devices such as the Oculus Rift, a person wearing HoloLens can still see the world around them, because the virtual objects are projected onto a clear display.

Microsoft sees Windows Holographic, the platform behind HoloLens, as a way for people wearing different AR and VR headsets to communicate with each other in their respective virtual environments.

HoloLens Microsoft/IDGNS

In a promotional video Microsoft released Wednesday, one person wearing a HoloLens “appears” in the virtual world of a person wearing a VR headset, and the two converse.

"There's such a commonality between VR and AR that devices in both spaces need to share experiences, so we’re calling it mixed reality," Terry Meyerson, the head of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group, told reporters at Computex in Taipei.

The potential for communication between devices seems not to be limited to those running Windows Holographic: the VR headset in Microsoft's video is the HTV Vive. Microsoft apparently worked with HTC to make the Vive and its own VR software interoperate.

It's not disclosing business terms yet, but Microsoft will presumably license the technology, which is calls Windows Holographic, in a similar model that it uses for Windows and PCs.

Its goal is to create en ecosystem of many different types of Windows Holographic devices, one in which they share common interface elements and can run the same applications.

Windows Holographic includes “a holographic shell and interaction model, perception APIs, and Xbox Live services," the company said. It won't provide more details until a WinHEC conference it plans to hold this fall.

HoloLens is currently available only to developers. Microsoft has been marketing it primarily as a tool for business users and it’s priced at a hefty US$3,000.

It wants its partners to build products at different price points and with different levels of sophistication, Myerson said.

A common criticism of the HoloLens is that it gives only a narrow field of view, something Myerson was about in Taipei.

“There will be partners who build devices with a wider field of view than HoloLens, I’m sure of that,” he said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags computexMicrosoft

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

James Niccolai

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?