While a lot of news around virtual reality has focused on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, Microsoft has been doing its own thing with HoloLens. The augmented reality headset is still in the early stages of development, but Microsoft has a plan to vault itself into the virtual reality market: the company is opening up Windows Holographic, the platform behind HoloLens, to third parties and a few big names are already on board.
The list of partners include Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, HTC, Acer, ASUS, CyberPowerPC, Dell, Falcon Northwest, HP, iBuyPower, Lenovo, and MSI. In theory any of them can now build devices for augmented reality and virtual reality using Windows Holographic.
Microsoft also showed how the HoloLens could interact with an HTC Vive user through its software. In the video, a woman used a HoloLens headset to design an event space, moving virtual objects around while interacting with a digital assistant. At one point she reaches out to colleagues wearing an HTC Vive and they are able to collaborate sharing the same virtual space. While it was just a concept video, Microsoft’s Terry Myerson told Engadget that they’re “working directly with HTC" on a product based on Windows Holographic.
Microsoft said that more than 300 million devices run Windows 10 already and that an additional 80 million VR devices could be sold by 2020. The company is basically playing counterpart to Google in VR -- while the latter is betting on VR powered by mobile devices running Android, Microsoft wants Windows to power high-end VR experiences.