Los Angelenos are focused on The Oscars today. Tech news is piggybacking on that story with the “how will Netflix perform” story angle.
Meanwhile, earlier Sunday (Pacific Time) Satya Nadella and team announced the Hololens 2 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Since before the Sensorama, we’ve envisioned a world where our devices blend into the background. In some ways a small step toward that future has been taken as we’ve moved away from desktops to a mobile world. Mass adoption of AR glasses would represent several large steps.
For Microsoft, building out the services to one day support a large-scale adoption of AR while also slowly iterating the hardware has positioned this latest iteration of Hololens as a big step up toward that future.
Meta is out of the race for now. Google, Facebook, and Apple are all strongly rumored to be working on consumer-focused AR glasses to be released at some point in the future. Microsoft and Magic Leap are the lead contenders in the high-end AR HMD space with clearly delineated positioning. Magic Leap is pivoting to enterprise as well since that sector will represent the best opportunity to make money for at least a few years.
In addition to the hardware, Microsoft is building out the application layer that will propel adoption starting with enterprise but later consumer applications. The new Azure Spatial Anchors adds “multiplayer” or collaboration capability, anchors real-world locations to specific functionality, and provides integrations for IoT / hologram interaction.
As industry insiders wring their hands and wonder where we are in the Trough of Disillusionment, this solid step forward for the state of AR technology should provide much-needed solace.