In an effort to help build its HoloLens platform, Microsoft has just announced that it will be making its Windows Holographic platform available to its hardware partners that are interested in building their own mixed reality displays, devices and accessories.
Mixed reality is a quite different from virtual reality because it allows users to experience the real world and the virtual world simultaneously. It also includes a wider range of experiences, including virtual reality that has been enhanced with holograms and holographic computing devices that have been enhanced with images from the real world.
Microsoft wants its hardware partners to help it develop a number of devices that take advantage of the Windows Holographic platform. Eventually it hopes to have tethered, untethered, fully opaque and transparent displays that can all take advantage of the platform.
There was an initial rumour that Asus was going to build its own HoloLens but now it seems that Microsoft wants it, and a number of other OEM partners, to develop and build their own mixed reality devices. The company is currently in talks with a number of vendors including Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, HTC, Acer, CyberPowerPC, Dell, Falcon, Northwest, HP, iBuyPower, Lenovo, MSI and a host of others.
Currently the Windows Holographic platform includes the holographic shell and interaction model, perception application programming interfaces (APIs) and a set of Xbox Live services that have been specifically tailored for use with mixed reality.
The end goal of Microsoft is to have its hardware partners adapt the platform in a way in which virtual reality devices will incorporate real-world objects and augmented reality devices will incorporate holograms.
The real world application of HoloLens and the Windows Holographic platform is far from ready for consumers. However, Microsoft's decision to open up the platform to its hardware partners will certainly help the platform develop by introducing a broader range of devices ready to meet the needs of the use case scenarios that mixed reality presents.
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