Despite success with the HoloLens, Microsoft may not plan to do a HoloLens 3.
According to a Business Insider report (via Windows Central), Microsoft scrapped plans for the HoloLens 3 and has left the HoloLens team in a state of perpetual confusion. Further, the team’s uncertain about the project’s future and existing long-term plans. Because of this, the HoloLens team has seen several members leave Microsoft to pursue augmented reality (AR) projects at rival companies, like Meta (Facebook). Windows Central previously documented cases of HoloLens team members jumping ship before the Business Insider report.
Problems also stem from divisions within the HoloLens team itself. Some members want to focus on hardware, particularly with the company’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) contract with the U.S. Army. Windows Central notes the contract can net Microsoft up to $22 billion USD (about $27.9 billion CAD) for delivery of soldier-attuned HoloLens variants. However, reports indicate Microsoft has failed to produce a combat-ready device, leading to the project being delayed.
The other group wants to focus on the metaverse, although Microsoft allegedly still doesn’t have a clear vision for that space. Business Insider’s source claimed that the split in focus resulted in several assignment and vision changes that have hampered progress.
Finally, Microsoft’s alleged partnership with Samsung on an AR project reportedly created further complications, namely by pulling the HoloLens team away from existing issues that need to be addressed. Moreover, one source said Samsung wants Microsoft to focus on the software side while it handles hardware, but that hasn’t sat well with the team.
Ultimately, it sounds like HoloLens 3 is dead. The report’s timeline indicates the Samsung partnership was the final nail in the coffin for HoloLens 3. However, maybe something can still come out of the Samsung partnership in the future.
Source: Business Insider, Windows Central