An invite to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona hints at a new product to rival the Magic Leap.
Scott SteinEditor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
ExpertiseVR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tabletsCredentials
Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
This year's CES wasn't big on AR news, but Microsoft may be waiting until Mobile World Congress to spring information on the next expected update to its AR headset, the HoloLens. An invite to a press conference on Feb. 24 at MWC suggests the HoloLens 2 might be big reveal.
Sure, the invite itself seems mysterious, with an image of a futuristic Barcelona, where MWC is held. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will be giving the keynote, along with CVP Julia White and -- most tellingly -- Technical Fellow Alex Kipman, the creator of Kinect and HoloLens and head of Microsoft's mixed reality efforts.
Microsoft hasn't immediately responded to a request for comment, but the HoloLens 2 was expected to debut sometime in early 2019. Microsoft recently won a $480 million contract to supply the US Army with HoloLens headsets.
The original HoloLens AR headset was first released in 2016, layering hologram-like 3D graphics into the real world in a stand-alone package, but has some technical limits including a narrow field of view. The next HoloLens may improve field of view and bring more advanced controls, as well as eye-tracking.
Magic Leap's first-generation AR headset, the Magic Leap One, debuted last year and aims for similar developer and enterprise territory.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's VR efforts for Windows 10, which resulted in a number of affordable "mixed reality" headsets in late 2017 through early 2018, have fallen relatively quiet since.
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