from the what's-next dept.
Leaked documents have provided details about Microsoft's upcoming Surface tablets, the next-generation Xbox, a two-screen handheld device, and the next HoloLens:
Andromeda, Microsoft's mythical pocketable, two-screen, hand-held device that's supposed to carve out a whole new market for itself, is due for release in 2018. The documents also say that, after Andromeda, Microsoft OEMs will produce their own comparable products, just as they've done with Surface Pro.
The big question for Andromeda is the same as it has always been: why? To define a new hardware form factor, as appears to be the intent, its design needs to be particularly suitable for something. Surface Pro, for example, has appealed particularly to groups such as students (taking notes with OneNote) and artists, thanks to its form factor and multimodal input support. To succeed, Andromeda needs to offer similar appeal—it needs to enable something that's widely useful and ill-suited to existing hardware. But presently, there are few ideas of just what that role might be.
Next up, in 2019, is a new version of HoloLens, codenamed Sydney. The documents say it is due to hit the market in some capacity (for developers or perhaps full commercial availability) in the first quarter of 2019. It will be much cheaper than the current HoloLens (though how much cheaper isn't known at this time), as well as lighter, more comfortable, and with a much better display. It will probably use a new sensor package derived from the Project Kinect for Azure announced at the Build developer conference last month and will also probably incorporate Microsoft's second-generation holographic processing unit custom processor.
Microsoft today revealed HoloLens 2 at MWC 2019 in Barcelona. The headset features a laser-scanning display which brings a field of view that's more than 2x the original HoloLens and 47 pixels per degree.
HoloLens visionary Alex Kipman took to the stage in Barcelona to introduce HoloLens 2 which addresses many of the key criticisms of the original headset: field of view, comfort, and hand-tracking.
Kipman says that HoloLens 2 "more than doubles" the field of view of the original HoloLens, though hasn't yet specified exactly what the field of view is. The original HoloLens field of view was around 35 degrees, so HoloLens 2 is expected to be around 70 degrees.
[...] HoloLens 2 is also designed to be more comfortable, with much of the headset's bulk balanced in the back of the headset. Kipman said HoloLens 2 "more than triples the comfort" over the original HoloLens... though the exact weight, and how they came to that specific figure, is unclear. Still, the front portion of the headset is said to be made entirely from carbon fiber to cut down on weight and offers a convenient flip-up visor.
HoloLens 2 also brings hand-tracking which goes much further than the coarse gesture control in the original headset. Now with full hand-tracking, users can interact much more directly with applications by touching, poking, and sliding controls directly rather than using abstract gestures.
Also at Engadget.
Previously: HoloLens - Microsoft's Augmented Reality Product
Microsoft Giving $500,000 to Academia to Develop HoloLens Apps
Microsoft Announces Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and HoloLens Dev Edition
Microsoft HoloLens and its 24-Core Chip
HoloLens 2 to Include Machine Learning Accelerated Hardware
Ford Using Microsoft HoloLens to Help Design Cars
Leaked Microsoft Documents Describe Plans for Surface Tablets, Xbox, "Andromeda", and HoloLens
HoloLens to Assist Surgeons at UK's Alder Hey Children's Hospital
U.S. Army Awards Microsoft a $480 Million HoloLens Contract