There are a lot of leaks, rumours and announcements revolving around the unveiling of new AR, VR or XR technology and wearables. Distinctively recent announcements by the likes of Microsoft, HTC, Apple and Magic Leap; all shows how competitive the wearables market truly is.
This, in regards to, both consumer grade and enterprise hardware, leads to an expected market growth of 8.0% from 2021 to 2028. There is money to be made here and it’s been clear to the shark tank for a long time now.
Recently Microsoft have announced a consumer grade Hololens 3. With a predicted release date of March 2024. The Hololens 3 will drop right after the predicted release date of the Apple’s XR headset; predicted 2022 and the new HTC Vive Focus 3 and Pro 2 (which are taking pre-orders from June 27).
There is plenty of competition at hand here; especially with key players Apple taking a serious stand alongside AR. Getting an investment of $430B in the US and are already applying AR to their Clips app for IPhone and Ipads with LiDAR scanners.
Despite being advertised as a consumer line of the hardware. The focus has not been fully derailed and the Hololens still has enterprise in mind first and fourth most.
The re-aligned focus has more consideration for consumers, this can allow for strides within the enterprise sector. Mainly stemming from accessibility issues.
The Direction of the Hololens 3:
Previously Microsoft have been successful at integrating Hololens technology into workflows. Mainly in healthcare, manufacturing, retail and architecture markets.
According to the Fortune 500 list (compiled yearly by Fortune magazine), 60% of companies are trialling or using Mixed reality, while 90% with 500 employees have adopted the technology. Though it is hard too say how far Hololens’ hardware fits into this figure.
Alex Kipman, Microsoft’s head of Mixed Reality, stated in a Bloomberg interview that they wanted to focus on front line workers. This is reflected in the Hololens 3 announcements about the size and weight of the device. It will weigh less than 90g and only use 2W of power; the Hololens 2 weighs 500g and uses 8w respectively.
It is curious to see if this new branding as a consumer model will help push the Hololens further into their focused enterprises; as well as the markets the have less of a foothold on. Perhaps a more consumer friendly price tag will help the hardware find its way into workflows. The Hololens 2 goes for $3,500.00 at its cheapest.
But with the March 2024 release many other players would have dropped their headsets by then (like Apple and HTC Vive). Alongside the already cheap Quest for business and the recently announced Pico Neo 3 Pro.
With this competition can Microsoft find the space to make another splash in the years to come.