Microsoft was one of the first big tech companies to jump on the AR/VR train when it first launched HoloLens in 2015. The company followed up the original model with the introduction of HoloLens 2 in 2019. However, we won't be seeing the HoloLens 3 as according to a new report, Microsoft has dropped plans of launching a new HoloLens device.
According to a report from Business Insider, Microsoft has stopped its efforts of developing HoloLens 3. One of the site's sources says that this might be the end of HoloLens as we know it. One of the contributing factors that stopped the development of the new HoloLens device is Microsoft's tie-up with Samsung. As per the report, Microsoft's intention of developing a new mixed reality device in partnership with Samsung has caused an internal divide within the mixed reality division of the company.
Microsoft CEO believes that the company should develop software (an OS of sorts) that other companies can use. Basically, this means that Satya Nadella would rather want Microsoft to develop an OS that would empower the whole world of AR, VR, and Mixed Reality devices rather than step into building the hardware itself.
The news comes as a shock as Microsoft was recently granted a contract with the US government to help their military to develop a system called Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), which was said to be based on HoloLens technology. While some executives at Microsoft believe that the company should continue to develop HoloLens for consumers, others believe that the company should continue to invest in the enterprise and contracts like the IVAS.
What's more interesting is that the report claims that Microsoft dropped plans of HoloLens 3 last summer whereas the company announced a new partnership with Qualcomm to develop a chipset for AR devices last month.
The confusion with AR has apparently cost Microsoft a lot. The company reportedly lost 25 mixed reality employees to Meta in 2021. Some of the employees who left Microsoft for Meta had been with the company for over 20 years, according to the report.
Microsoft is denying that it has stopped the development of HoloLens. In a statement to Business Insider, Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw said that " [HoloLens is a] critical part of [the company's] plans for emerging categories like mixed reality and the metaverse. We remain committed to HoloLens and future HoloLens development."
However, as Engadget notes, the metaverse is a big part of the company's plans. When the company acquired Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, CEO Satya Nadella said, "gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms."
What are your thoughts on AR, VR, and mixed reality as a whole? Do you think these technologies will play an important role in the future? Let us know in the comments section below!