Microsoft rumored to have canceled its consumer-grade XR hardware project with Samsung

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Recently, Microsoft was rumored to be working with Samsung on consumer-grade XR hardware, but the joint project is said to have been canceled.


Rumors of a Microsoft-Samsung partnership are true, but the joint project is said to have ended, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing former employees. The aim is to develop thinner, more affordable XR devices for consumers. It’s unclear if Samsung will launch its own “metaverse device.”


Source: Microsoft

According to “World Journal”, Microsoft has canceled plans for Hololens 3. This confirmed previous rumors. Collaboration with the U.S. Army’s military AR headset continues, but the results seem inconclusive.


Both results ultimately come back to the same unresolved question: how to make an AR headset suitable for everyday use, while being user-friendly and powerful? This task has not been cracked by any company, although various institutions and companies have invested billions of dollars in the task in recent years.


A former Microsoft employee who spent years at Hololens described the development of the headset and software to The Wall Street Journal as “much harder than anyone expected.” In addition, according to people familiar with the matter, Microsoft’s strategy is also unclear. Hololens first debuted as a gaming device at E3 2015 and later sold as a B2B headset.


Tim Osborne, a retired Hololens engineer, lamented the missed opportunity. “We’re way ahead in a lot of ways,” Osborne said, but Microsoft didn’t put enough people or money on the project.


According to the former employee, Microsoft’s Hololens had technical problems from the start and had to find creative ways to mask those problems. In one Hololens demo room, for example, furniture was allegedly nailed to the floor because even small deviations could affect AR headset tracking. A so-called real-time room scan actually shows pre-created renderings.


“The whole process at Microsoft was very much about getting people excited about how this thing could revolutionize the world,” said Avi Bar-Zeev, who helped Microsoft develop the Screen Zero concept in 2010, the basis for Hololens. “What they should really be focusing on is what makes this product better than a smartphone.”


Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently announced a software-focused metaverse strategy, as well as the launch of Office products for Meta Quest hardware. The Hololens team has been disbanded and employees have been assigned to other Microsoft hardware and software projects.


More than 100 employees are said to have left the Hololens team in the past two years, mostly joining Meta. Among the prominent changers may be Bernard Kress, the former head of optics at Hololens, who went to Google.


Source: mixed-news