So, recently, Microsoft unveiled a whole slew of new technologies. Windows 10 was there, as expected. So were Spartan (a web browser to replace Internet Explorer) and Cortana, which was to be integrated heavily with Spartan (Microsoft, I see what you did there….). There was also talk about XBox Live integration into Windows 10, which I am surprised took this long. But the thing that had people stop and go ‘Woah!’ was Microsoft’s entry into the Augmented Reality battle.
HoloLens. It’s a set of over-sized shades, including enough computer smarts to drive an Augmented Reality interface built into the shades. You can see a full augmented reality view, theoretically across your field of view, with the AR glasses also letting you see the world easily. The glasses look like something you would expect to be north of $500 (unlike Google Glass which does not show its $1500 price tag _at all_). The feature set has left the handful of people to actually demo the things awestruck, and phrases like “We live in the fucking future!” get bandied around quite easily around this thing.
We do live on the cusp of the future. The year 2000 was supposed to be the beginning of the future age, and yet, it just felt like 1999 and 2001 after it (at least before September of 2001). But thanks to serious advances in computer technology from the early 2000s to now, we’re packing computers in our pockets that make the machines we used a short 15 years ago look positively primitive — I was using a dual Celeron 450 system when Y2K passed, which was the typical desktop system including large white tower. Today, 2048GB of RAM, 16GB of ‘Hard Drive’ (plus a 32GB ‘CDROM’) and a full 1080p AMOLED display lives in a device that sits in my pocket. And thanks to that device and the technology it made possible, Microsoft has designed a true Augmented Reality, Wearable Virtual Interface.
Google? What Microsoft wants this to be is what Glass should have been. Specifically, Glass should NOT have been a $1500 (at least 3x to expensive, if not more!) tiny viewscreen with an obtrusive camera slapped on the side, and not enough battery to run any of it for a decent amount of time. We’ll see if HoloLens lives up to the hype, but for now? Google, you should be on your way back to the drawing board, or at least on your way to Washington to negotiate licensing with Microsoft to borrow their patents.