Microsoft is reportedly working on a new Mixed Reality headset in partnership with Samsung, casting doubt on the future of the HoloLens 3.
The HoloLens is Microsoft's answer to Mixed Reality. It's been well over half a decade since we first learned about the device. While the gaming community might have had some hopes for it to go head-to-head against early VR headsets, the HoloLens has largely been used in commercial and industrial applications.
A big part of the problem is the cost -- the HoloLens 2 currently retails at a staggering $3,500 price point, a sum that would allow you to instead purchase a pretty solid gaming PC and whatever VR headset you'd like to use with it. With a recent report on the steady growth of VR, it looks like Microsoft might be getting left behind -- but that all could be changing soon.
What We Know About Microsoft's New Mixed Reality Headset
According to a new report from Business Insider (via Reddit), Microsoft is working on a new mixed reality headset in partnership with Samsung. This new device would leverage cloud computing -- and it may also be the first sign that the HoloLens 3 is going the way of the dodo.
Sources speaking to Business Insider say that Microsoft has shifted strategy away from the HoloLens, opting instead to focus on a new mixed reality headset. This was contended by a tweet from the HoloLens co-inventor who says that the HoloLens is "doing great."
don't believe what you read on the internet. #HoloLens is doing great and if you search said internet they also said we had cancelled #HoloLens2... which last I checked we shipped with success [)-)— Alex Kipman (@akipman) February 3, 2022
However, Business Insider's source categorizes that response as "complete bullsh**," instead claiming that the HoloLens 3 -- which is reportedly codenamed "Project Calypso" -- has been canceled "in no uncertain terms." This same source says that Microsoft may opt to do another HoloLens release, but it certainly won't be on the scale as had been originally planned for the HoloLens 3.
Microsoft's new mixed-reality headset is apparently codenamed "Project Bondi" and will be very different from the rugged, self-contained unit that HoloLens users are familiar with. Currently, it's a set of screens inside a headset and uses a Samsung phone in your pocket for processing power.
Interestingly, this new device also plans to use cloud computing. Much like Amazon, Microsoft has its own worldwide cloud computing services called Microsoft Azure. If Microsoft does aim to leverage the cloud for this reported new device, it already has the infrastructure in place to make that happen.
This new device would also have a better chance of becoming a new platform for gaming. Last year, Niantic put together a proof-of-concept showing how Pokemon Go could work with a HoloLens -- a tricky prospect when one of these devices costs thousands of dollars. If this new reported partnership pans out, we may soon see an upgrade for augmented reality games.
Do you think Microsoft could pull off making a mixed reality headset at a good price? How much would you be willing to spend on one of these devices? Let us know in the comments below!