Microsoft is expected to launch the next version of its augmented reality headset, HoloLens sometime next year. There has been a lot of speculation about the device in the past few weeks. While we have heard details about when it will arrive and how much it will cost, more details have emerged detailing its specifications.
Engadget reports that Microsoft HoloLens 2 will use Qualcomm’s XR1 platform, a purpose-built chipset for delivering AR experience. This debunks the myth that HoloLens 2 will use Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, the mobile-centric chipset. The XR1 was recently announced with the primary purpose of delivering rich AR and VR experience. Qualcomm is promising directional audio, 3D overlays and 4K video at 60 frames per second on the new platform.
Qualcomm showcased the new XR1 platform at the end of May and said it is partnering with brands like Vive, Vuzix and Meta for new devices. However, Microsoft was not mentioned in the partner list suggesting the Redmond-based company wanted to keep its HoloLens 2 plans secret.
According to Microsoft watcher Brad Sams, the HoloLens will debut in the first quarter of 2019. Thurrott.com notes that the hardware is codenamed Sydney and might be showcased at CES 2019 in January. The first-generation HoloLens used a custom chipset designed in house by Microsoft which required extensive research and led to increase in price. The use of a standard chipset like the XR1 platform could help lower the price of HoloLens 2.
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The first generation HoloLens launched at $3,000 and was aimed mainly at business customers. With HoloLens, Microsoft might finally aspire to sell its AR headset to consumers as well. Microsoft is also said to be working on three Surface branded devices codenamed Carmel, Libra and Andromeda.