February 20, 2017

A new report claims that Microsoft has made some behind-the-scenes changes that will affect when the next version of its HoloLens AR headset will be released. If the report is accurate, we may not see an all-new headset until sometime in 2019.

Microsoft first announced the self-contained HoloLens device in 2015, and launched the Developer Edition in 2016 for the price of $3,000. Microsoft has repeatedly said they are in no rush to release a consumer version of the HoloLens, as the company is currently targeting business and developer customers with this first version.

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According to a report on Thurrott.com, Microsoft originally had plans to release a second generation version of the HoloLens, which would have been smaller than the current version and more affordable. However, the story says that the roadmap has now been revised, with Microsoft deciding to skip making that second generation version. Instead, it will now be developing what would have been the third generation version of the HoloLens, which the story says is supposed to be “closer to a generational leap” compared to the current headset.

The bad news is that we may not see that new HoloLens device until 2019, three years after the launch of the current version. According to the story, Microsoft feels comfortable that it has a huge development lead in AR technology, and that the major advancements planned for the 2019 edition will be enough to keep it ahead of any competitors, even with a three-year gap.

At the moment, the only company that claims to be making a headset similar to the HoloLens is the mysterious Magic Leap. Despite getting over $1.4 billion in funding, the controversial company has yet to release any products at all, and recent rumors indicate it is still years away from doing so.

In the meantime, the story claims Microsoft will continue to release software updates and improvements for the current HoloLens Developer Edition. Officially, Microsoft is not commenting on their future plans for HoloLens. In a statement sent to Thurrott.com, the company said:

Mixed reality is the future of computing, and Microsoft HoloLens is the future and present of mixed reality. Our commitment requires no roadmap.

Do you think Microsoft is taking a risk waiting until 2019 to launch an all-new HoloLens headset, or are they really so far ahead of everyone else in this market they can afford to take their time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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