×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Microsoft’s Plan for Virtual and Augmented Reality Is to Have Headsets Run Windows

Microsoft revealed its big plan for virtual and augmented reality at Computex 2016 in Taipei Wednesday, and it goes far beyond the company’s futuristic HoloLens headset: Microsoft wants partners to build their own virtual, augmented and mixed reality headsets based on its Windows operating system.

To enable this, Microsoft officially announced a new initiative called Windows Holographic Wednesday that will allow partners to use some of the same technology that’s being used for HoloLens for their own devices.

And these devices don’t necessarily have to be HoloLens clones: Microsoft is envisioning a whole new set of devices that merge the real world with the virtual. Some could project holographic images over the your view your environment, while others could simply “scan” objects or people to import them into virtual worlds.

“Imagine wearing a VR device and seeing your physical hands as you manipulate an object, working on the scanned 3D image of a real object, or bringing in a holographic representation of another person into your virtual world so you can collaborate,” wrote Microsoft Windows and devices group EVP Terry Myerson in a blog post Wednesday. “In this world, devices can spatially map your environment wherever you are; manipulating digital content is as easy and natural as picking up a box or sitting at a table; and you can easily teleport into your next meeting or travel together as a team.”

Microsoft illustrated these ideas with a video as well:

The company will give developers access to Windows Holographic later this year, and has already partnered with a number of big chip and device makers to build devices based on and optimized for the platform. Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, HTC, Acer, ASUS, CyberPowerPC, Dell, Falcon Northwest, HP, iBuyPower, Lenovo and MSI are all among the partners announced Wednesday.

However, this doesn’t mean that each and every of these companies is going to build a headset. Partners could build “PCs, displays, accessories and mixed reality devices” that make use of Windows Holographic, according to Myerson. HP or Lenovo may just be building a high-end gaming PC that may one day also run apps for Windows Holograpic devices.

Speaking of which: Microsoft already has a big role in VR, as both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are already dependent on Windows PCs. It’s very likely that any next-generation augmented reality headset would also depend on these kinds of high-end PCs. So why announce a dedicated VR initiative?

The answer is that Microsoft, much like Google, wants to be at the center stage of virtual and augmented reality. This means not only to provide the operating system, but also run the app store and supply the services necessary to run augmented and virtual reality experiences.

In fact, Google may be one of Microsoft’s biggest adversaries as both companies plan for a future in which augmented and virtual reality become daily utilities. Google introduced its mobile virtual reality platform Daydream at its Google I/O developer conference earlier this month; Daydream is based on Android, not Windows, and hands Google the keys to the app store.

Separately, Google is also working on next-generation mobile augmented reality devices as part of its Project Tango. One day, these efforts may merge — and Microsoft wants to be ready for that day.

More Digital

  • USA Today Mobile Apps Get Oscars

    USA Today Launches Oscars AR Experience to Highlight Work of Costume Designers (EXCLUSIVE)

    USA Today is getting ready for the Academy Awards with an augmented reality (AR) experience dedicated to the work of the costume designers on some of the Oscar-nominated movies. The experience, which went live in USA Today’s Android and iOS app Monday, presents wardrobe from 6 movies in augmented reality, including costumes worn on “Mary [...]

  • Amazon Prime

    Amazon Prime India Greenlights ‘Bandits’ Music Series

    Amazon Prime Video India has greenlit original series “Bandish Bandits.” The show is a musical created by Still and Still Media Collective. The series will follow an Indian classical musician bound by tradition and a pop star whose performance skills are greater than her talent. A bandish is a term used to describe a musical [...]

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content