With the recent negative pieces of news regarding HoloLens, getting clear assurance about its future is almost impossible. Nonetheless, Scott Evans, Vice President of Mixed Reality at Microsoft, recently ended the speculations by saying the company actually has plans for the next HoloLens.
The doubts regarding the next HoloLens’ (supposedly HoloLens 3) future are way beyond HoloLens chief Alex Kipman’s departure from Microsoft in June. Even before the news broke out, the tech giant seemed to be already struggling to define the future of the device. In February, Business Insider shared that Microsoft canceled its plans to release the HoloLens 3. Sources said the decision was due to “confusion and strategic uncertainty.” Specifically, the report pertains to the company’s conflict regarding the device’s target market, wherein Kipman reportedly hoped to make it available to general consumers while others wanted to make it dedicated to businesses and enterprises.
Meanwhile, in the same report, sources mentioned Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s interest in software for the metaverse. In the middle of the year, Nadella talked about the company’s “software-led approach” toward the metaverse. According to the executive, Microsoft’s plan is to merge the digital and physical worlds in the metaverse. The approach, which would be hardware agnostic, will allow everyone to “benefit from these experiences, regardless of what device they’re on.” This statement reflects the company’s steps to expand the availability of its mixed reality software to all kinds of devices beyond HoloLens 2.
“That’s why Microsoft is committed to making its mixed reality software available wherever its customers are – whether that’s on a HoloLens 2 or another company’s device,” Microsoft’s Jake Siegel explains in the post. “And while Dynamics 365 Mixed Reality Apps provide enterprise-grade software so customers can get to work immediately, Microsoft has also built a Mixed Reality partner network of ISVs who can extend solutions to meet unique needs in different industries, from construction and education to healthcare and pharmaceutical.”
These problems within the company are not the only issues that blur HoloLens 3’s future. In the past months, different reports showed Microsoft struggling to perfect its military Hololens or IVAS (Integrated Audio Visual System). In October, Bloomberg even shared the news that caused soldiers who wore them to experience physical adverse effects, such as headaches, eyestrain, and nausea.
Despite the disagreeing visions, challenges, and other issues above that erased the clarity of the HoloLens 3 release, Evans said that the device can still be expected. The VP explained that the only reason HoloLens 3 is still not here is the company’s effort to prevent churn from constantly replacing devices with new ones. However, it was also hinted that HoloLens 3 will still be actually for businesses, not regular consumers.
“No one wants to be obsoleted for 10% better capabilities. They don’t need a successor yet, but they want to know it will be there at the right time,” Evans said. “We’re just looking for the right design point to make it a meaningful update. They want a successor device that’s going to enable an even higher return on investment.”