Holographic future for Microsoft
By Digital News Asia June 3, 2016
- Windows Holographic for all VR/ AR devices
- Including HoloLens and third-party hardware
MICROSOFT Corp is now inviting its Windows 10 hardware partners to create virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality devices, and everything in between, with Windows Holographic, the platform that powers Microsoft HoloLens. In opening up Windows Holographic to partners, Microsoft is sharing its vision for mixed reality — a world where devices interact with each other to change the way people work, communicate, learn and play.
You can see Microsoft's vision of the future in this video:
“With Windows 10, we’ve been on an incredible journey with our partners, and today we usher in the next frontier of computing — mixed reality,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Windows and Devices.
With over 80 million virtual reality devices expected on the market by 2020, the business opportunity for virtual reality is vast. Yet, today’s devices are built with related but differing technologies — ranging from virtual to augmented reality.
These devices and experiences do not work together because of different user interfaces, interaction models, input methods, peripherals and applications. Most virtual reality experiences cannot mix real people, objects and environments into the virtual world, making creation and collaboration difficult.
Windows Holographic is Microsoft's attempt to unify these worlds. It offers a holographic shell and user interface, perception APIs (application programming interfaces), and Xbox Live services, enabling a familiar experience across apps and content.
All Universal Windows apps can run on the Windows Holographic platform. There are already a thousand Universal Windows Apps that run on Windows Holographic.
In a mixed reality world, devices can offer experiences that extend beyond the virtual world. Imagine wearing a VR device and seeing your physical hands as you manipulate an object, working on the scanned 3D image of a real object, or bringing a real-life holographic representation of another person into your virtual world so you can collaborate.
In this world, devices can spatially map your environment wherever you are; manipulating digital content is as easy and natural as it is in the real world.
This move is part of Microsoft's OneCore strategy. The Windows 10th Anniversary Update, due soon, represents a major landmark for Microsoft. As well as being a significant update for Windows 10 on the desktop and Windows 10 Mobile on phones, the release will also be on Xbox One.
For the first time, the Xbox One will be running essentially the same operating system as desktop Windows. Critically, it will also be able to run many of the same applications as desktop Windows.
In a lot of ways, this represents the realisation of a vision that Microsoft has been promoting for more than 20 years: Windows Everywhere.
The Windows Everywhere ideal has a renewed significance with Windows 10 and chief executive officer Satya Nadella's promise that Windows 10 will have one billion users within the first three years of its availability. The purpose of that promise is to send a message to developers that Windows is a big platform, a platform that they should still think about and create software for.
But if it is to have a hope of hitting that one billion target, Microsoft needs more than just PC users to get on board, which makes it important for Windows to run on more than just PCs. Hence the need for Windows Everywhere - including holographic devices.
Microsoft can now credibly speak of having one operating system (with Windows 10 as its most familiar branding) that can span hardware from little embedded Internet of Things devices to games consoles to PCs to cloud-scale server farms.
At its heart is a slimmed down, modularised operating system dubbed OneCore. Windows 10, Windows Server, Xbox 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 IoT, and the HoloLens operating system are all built on this same foundation.
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