Microsoft is quite active on AR and VR field. About AR, that’s no secret that its HoloLens device is absolutely astonishing and works really well. I’ve tried it myself and I think that the stability of its “holograms” is incredible. In VR field, they recently announced that they will release cheap headsets for Windows 10, which they claim will be even better than Vive and Oculus.
Microsoft new headsets aren’t actually being made by Microsoft, but by a series of MS partners, like Dell, HP and Lenovo. Microsoft has given them some set of guidelines and provided them their awesome spatial tracking technology (the one from HoloLens) and then let them produce and sell them… and earn money from them. These guidelines mainly aim at having each headset to be compatible with Windows Holographic platform. Let’s all remember that these new Windows 10 HMDs will all be tethered and will all provide inside-out tracking, meaning that they don’t require any particular external camera or sensor, they just work out of the box, scanning the environment with cameras on the headset and reconstructing camera pose automatically. This means very user friendly devices… that avoid mess of playing with tracking stations and this kind of stuff. Microsoft aims at having headsets with a full range of prices: they want to lower the price tag of VR headsets, so that to have a more widespread adoption of VR.
Yesterday at a Microsoft event, lots of AR/VR announcements have been made: for example, the development of the new version of Paint that will be 3D and holographic, or the integration of 3D objects inside web pages, so that they can be dragged inside your HoloLens room. Lots of cool stuff.
One announcement has surprised and puzzled all of us VR enthusiasts: Microsoft has announced $299 high-quality VR headsets from its partners. Microsoft claims that it has partnered with HP, Lenovo and others to produce a new revolutionary kind of headset, that has inside-out positional tracking out of the box and that is very cheap. Even more, they mocked all the competitors, like Vive and Oculus, definining them “other less immersive accessories that today cost over $500”.