So Long Google Glass, Hello Microsoft HoloLens!

Image of a man wearing a headset through which he can view hologram projections of computer programs.

Oh, how I love the digital age!

Within days of Google announcing the retirement of Google Glass, Microsoft debuted the HoloLens, a holographic computing device that looks like a bulky pair of Matrix-like glasses with built-in speakers.

The HoloLens brings hi-def holograms of apps, Skype chats, Minecraft, the planet Mars and more to life, on the physical plane — from one’s living room to the corporate boardroom.

Microsoft announced the HoloLens in tandem with Windows Holographic, a new augmented reality, advanced holographic computing platform that is built into the now more highly-anticipated Windows 10.

Making this Microsoft’s most innovative one-two punch (hardware + software) since the Xbox.

The tech giant plans to get HoloLenses into the hands onto the heads of developers this spring during its Build conference, which sold out in an hour, a record for Microsoft…

And under the Christmas trees of consumers by year’s end.

A screenshot of a tweet in which Jorge Aldunate replies to Microsoft's posting of a video about HoloLens as thus: "@Mircrosoft @HoloLens Shut up and take my money! :-D"

HoloLens Defined

A young man wearing a HoloLens headset

Microsoft HoloLens is the first holographic computer running Windows 10.

It is completely untethered – no wires, phones, or connection to a PC needed.

Microsoft HoloLens allows you to pin holograms in your physical environment and provides a new way to see your world.

Microsoft HoloLens features see-through, holographic, high-definition lenses and spatial sound so you can see and hear holograms in the world around you.

Complete with advanced sensors and a new Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) that understands the world around you, Microsoft HoloLens is able to run without any wires while processing terabytes of data from the sensors in real-time.

Source: Microsoft

So… What’s It Like?

Check out reactions from tech journalists who were granted early, heads-on access to the HoloLens prototype:

The experience was amazing, in a way that Samsung’s VR or Oculus Rift only scratches the surface at.

~ Jeremy Kaplan, Digital Trends

With HoloLens, I’m not just able to see what it’s like to walk around on Mars, but I’m also able to interact with the contents on the surface.

~ Nick Statt,CNET

After exploring Mars, I don’t want to remove the headset, which has provided a glimpse of a combination of computing tools that make the unimaginable feel real.

~ Jessi Hempel, Wired

Unlike virtual-reality headsets, the HoloLens leaves a sense of openness: you can see everything in the room outside of its rectangular field of view. I felt more like I wearing glasses than a helmet blocking out everything else in the room….

What I saw during my small taste of Microsoft’s take on augmented reality was incredibly arresting. Concepts previously limited to science-fiction (Holodeck, anyone?) could become reality after all.

~ Alaina Yee, IGN

The experience was nothing short of magical…

We ran through three interactive demos…. My favorite was Minecraft….

If Microsoft can get the price of HoloLens right, it could become the must-have Minecraft accessory at Christmastime. Microsoft’s decision to buy Minecraft‘s developer all of a sudden makes sense.

~ Peter Bright, Ars Technica