Microsoft opens Holographic operating system to VR vendors

Rachael Power is an editor at TechForge Media, writing about marketing tech, connected cars and virtual reality. She has written for a number of online and print titles including the Irish Times, Irish Examiner, accountingWEB and BusinessZone. Rachael has a passion for digital marketing, journalism, gaming and fitness, and is on Twitter at: @rachpower10.


Microsoft has announced it has opened up its Windows Holographic operating system to virtual and augmented reality partners.

In a blog post describing it as “the next chapter for Windows 10”, executive vice president of Windows and Devices Group Terry Myerson outlined plans to make Holographic a common operating system for mixed reality.

At the Computex conference in Teipei, Micorosoft showed off a demo video of how it’s mixed reality offering would look and how VR headsets could interact with its HoloLens product. Details of how they could do so are yet unclear, but Microsoft is working with partners, including Intel, HTC, Lenovo, ASUS and Acer on making Holographic a platform for VR.

The Windows Holographic OS underpins HoloLens, which isn’t yet commercially available but started shipping to partners – such as Volvo and NASA – in March.

Microsoft has its sights set on the market for VR devices, which is expected to be at 80 million per year by 2020. It’s not much of a surprise that it’s working with the likes of HTC, whose Vive headset requires it to be tethered to a Windows 10 PC – as does Oculus Rift. 

However, Myerson continues in his blog post that many of today’s devices don’t work together very well, with differing interfaces and input methods and aren’t geared toward mixed reality.  

“This is because they lack the human, environmental and object understanding that is already built into WIndows 10,” Myerson writes.

The opening up of Windows Holographic OS to all devices and developers could create a new business opportunities. Developers can start writing Windows Holographic apps from today, which are universal windows apps available on the Windows Store.

More detail is set to be announced later this year at the WinHEC developer conferences, and we’re looking forward to seeing how VR and AR devices will be able to work together more closely. MR could be an affordable reality for some in the relatively near future. 

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