HoloLens In Danger, Microsoft Could Abandon Its Augmented Reality Glasses

The device, tested in professional environments, faces an uncertain future as a consumer product for the general public.

Microsoft could have abandoned the development of the third version of its HoloLens augmented reality glasses. This is what ensures a report produced by Business Insider, which cites more than 20 internal sources of the company and concludes that the company will not launch a HoloLens 3 this year, as it was planned to do.

Internal problems and doubts about the product's long-term strategy seem to be behind the cancellation. The report also notes that the atmosphere within the development team is strained and morale is sore over the apparent lack of direction for the product.

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Microsoft announced the first HoloLens in 2015. The glasses, which have several cameras and sensors, are capable of projecting virtual objects in the field of vision with which it is possible to interact without the need to use gloves or other accessories.

The first model, intended for developers, began to be sold in 2016 and in 2019 the company put on sale a second, more advanced and lighter model. It has also entered into agreements with various companies and institutions to test HoloLens in different professional settings. The glasses, for example, have been used by NASA, the US military and various hospitals to test how augmented reality techniques can help with different tasks.

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But the future of the device as a consumer product was uncertain, despite the fact that Microsoft has shown some entertainment and personal productivity applications on it. Chris Capossela, one of Microsoft's marketing managers, recently acknowledged at an internal company meeting that the product is currently a "rounding error" in the company's accounts and "a nice product for promotional videos."

Frank Shaw, vice president of Microsoft, assures in any case that HoloLens continues to be a "critical" part of the company's plans for emerging media, such as the metaverse. Several engineers on the HoloLens team, however, have recently left the company to join Meta (the company formerly known as Facebook) VR Labs.

The rumor that sounds stronger now is that Microsoft would be trying to reach an agreement with Samsung to jointly produce new versions of these augmented reality headsets. As in the PC world, Microsoft may be more interested in controlling the operating system and software of the metaverse than in making devices to access it.

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