When the technology industry began to adopt Virtual Reality, Microsoft was one of the few companies lacking a game plan outside of HoloLens. However, things changed with the announcement of Mixed Reality, a blend between Virtual Reality and the technology that powers HoloLens.
In a bid to keep up with the competition and to provide something new to the market, Microsoft is pushing its Mixed Reality ideas to its third-party partners around the world. The planned devices from Asus and HP will cost less to own than the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Furthermore, there’s no need for an ultra-powerful computer to get great results.
What is Windows Mixed Reality all about
Virtual Reality shields the user from the real world, while delivering an immersive virtual world. Augmented Reality doesn’t block users from the real world, hence the experience is not as immersive. Mixed Reality on the other hand, is a mixture of both virtual and augmented reality.
Before the software giant adopted the name Mixed Reality, it was called Windows Holographic. It’s a platform designed to power a range of VR and AR devices, which includes the HoloLens. Microsoft claims the name is due to the technology includes virtual reality, holographic computing, and augmented reality.
For those who are unaware, virtual reality is placing a headset on the user’s head that brings them into a three-dimensional virtual world. The real world is locked off unless the user removes the headgear. As for augmented reality, it’s about placing objects as an overlay in the real world without taking users out of the authentic experience.
As for holographic computing, it’s designed to have holograms shown in the real world. One only needs to look at HoloLens to get an idea of how it works. According to the software giant, the device is “the first self-contained, holographic computer.”
TIP: Take a look at the Mixed Reality Viewer app in Windows 10.
The things you’ll be able to do in Mixed Reality
The impressive thing about Mixed Reality, is the fact that it’ll be an application platform that games, apps, and other contents can use. For example, games, social media apps, 360 video content, and action games are some of the many contents that can take advantage of what Mixed Reality has to offer.
Microsoft has shown off several demos of its Mixed Reality platform in action, and as expected, it works really well. Moreover, all Universal Windows Platform apps will work with the headsets. Unlike the competition, Microsoft’s third-party products have access to thousands of apps via the Windows Store.
Upcoming Mixed Reality headsets
The software giant has partnered with Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and 3Glasses in a bid to have several products on the market beginning later this year. The Windows 10 Creators Update was released with these devices in mind, which means, users must first install this update before they can enjoy what Mixed Reality has to offer.
The headsets, according to Microsoft and its partners, will begin at $299, which is much cheaper than what Oculus and HTC are offering.
Time will tell if these devices can stand on the same level as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.