Beyond magical space toys
From Google Glass to Magic Leap, augmented- and mixed-reality has long been sold as a world-changing consumer technology that will transform our perception of the world. While Microsoft has always been a bit more measured with the messaging around Hololens, the first iteration of the device was accompanied by demos showing off how it could be used for things like gaming.
But now Hololens 2 is here
, and just like Google Glass of late, it’s aimed squarely at businesses
. Microsoft sees Hololens as the computer for people who can’t usually use computers because they’re busy fixing machinery or operating on people. Now they can benefit from data and 3D visualisations as they work, helping them do their jobs better.
The $3,500 new device is a step up on the previous model, allowing users to interact with 3D objects in the real world in a much larger field of vision than before.
And not even pretending it might be ready for consumers is the right move. This kind of tech will one day enable all sorts of amazing entertainment experiences, turning the world around into a canvas for developers.
But until the technology is advanced enough to cover your whole field of vision, and cheap enough that it makes sense for developers to invest in building apps for it, focusing on enterprise customers is very sensible. As Mary Jo Foley points out
, Microsoft can sell a load of subscription software to those businesses, too.
But more than that, I’m just glad Microsoft is selling this as a practical tool, not some magical space toy, as some similar devices have been pitched in the past. AR and MR might just be growing up at last.