If we think about the how would it look like to be using the advanced ‘futuristic’ technology, the first thing that comes in mind is the augmented reality that is all those holographic screens we see in most sci-fi movies these days. Augmented reality and virtual reality is not entirely new to us, the technology debuted back in 1994, but it is developing day by day to make the experience as close to reality as possible. Nowadays, we see VR in almost every aspect of our technical life, although it is not quite popular as of yet, its popularity is growing by leaps and bounds.
A few years back, we saw VR headsets from companies like Oculus, Vive, etc. they required additional mobile phones to work. Then the technology got ported into gaming, and we saw PS VR and VR capable graphics from Nvidia and AMD. Then came the devices which were based on Augmented reality or AR, as the term suggests it “augments” the real world interactive experience based on the computer generated perceptual information.
VR devices are less expensive more common and thus have more demand from the public, while the AR devices are more expensive and are only catered towards the professionals. Microsoft we all know works for the overall development of technology both regarding software, e.g., Windows and hardware, e.g., Xbox.
Among many devices that they reveal every year, there was one related to AR called Microsoft HoloLens. It looked like sunglasses, but it had superior functionality, it allowed its owners to play some games watch 360 degrees movies and interact with a plethora of environments made especially for its owners. The HoloLens although had great promises and advancements for the developers to follow and make content for the people who own it, the device had a huge price of $3000 which result in its very low popularity and hence sparing work from developers.
Enough of the history of AR and HoloLens let’s talk about future and how the rumors are shaping around the upcoming AR device from Microsoft. According to a report from Engadget Microsoft is indeed working on the next iteration of their AR device. The device is speculated to have the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 processor that was unveiled recently by Qualcomm; it especially focuses on the extended reality experience. Qualcomm has been using its mobile chips for smartphones, AR/ VR devices, and laptops, but this new chip designated towards AR and VR devices is showing company’s commitment to its productions.
The new chip is capable of streaming 4k UHD videos in 60FPS along with 3-DoF and 6-DoF control options that will allow the developers to make games on it, other than this the processor has support for all popular displays and graphics APIs such as OpenGL, Vulkan, and OpenCL. Qualcomm has been working with many companies such as Vive, Vuzix, and Meta to make use of their hardware, and supposedly Microsoft is the other company with which they are working to give the consumers the next-gen AR experience.
All in all, the main problem of Microsoft HoloLens was its price the audience that they were targeting were not common consumers, this time around with cheaper and better processor things might change at least in the perspective of price. Another rumor suggests that the device code-named project Sydney will be better looking, lighter and easier to use. Other than this it will feature a scaled-down version of Windows 10, and the expected reveal date of the device is January 2019 at CES or during some other event in January. Many of the rumored specifications might change when the actual product arises since they have time.