On stage this afternoon Microsoft revealed a new weapon in its war to become known as a devices and services company. Meet Microsoft HoloLens, a completely wireless headset that Microsoft says will run its Windows 10 operating system.
Shocking everyone, Microsoft announced HoloLens on stage during its previously scheduled Windows 10 Media Briefing. It’s a fully contained computer with a custom interface that actually appears as if its floating around the user. A demo of the technology include users examining a globe, watching Netflix and building things in Minecraft, the casual building game Microsoft purchased for billions last year.
The HoloLens devices Microsoft showed off on stage are nondescript and black. There are no wires, no extras to carry around. Inside are three different processors powering everything. There’s a transparent window that allows users to see what’s around them. Users navigate the interface by tapping on the options they see in front of them. Microsoft says that it’s already pushing developers to create apps for HoloLens. Presumably, these apps will be available in the Windows Store like they will be for other Windows 10 enabled devices.
All told, the vibe we’re getting feels a lot like Kinect when it was first introduced. It’s obviously futuristic, and Microsoft is sure to have a hit on its hands if it can deliver on its vision. The company is pushing entertainment and productivity scenarios for HoloLens.
What worries now is integration with the rest of Microsoft’s offerings. A video for Microsoft HoloLens indicated all the same basic apps from Windows 10 will be available, but Microsoft didn’t mention anything about Xbox One integration. Microsoft also didn’t discuss pricing beyond HoloLens devices being priced for “consumers.” Finally we know nothing about battery life. With three processors, it’s hard to imagine HoloLens last as long as a notebook or desktop running Windows 10 will.
Microsoft HoloLens will be available sometime within “the Windows 10 timeframe,” according to today’s presentation.