October 18, 2021

Is HoloLens Going to Be a Commodity?





There is something in a previous post that I haven’t explain well, and I think it deserves a separate post.

I mentioned Jerry Nixon, Microsoft’s Developer Evangelist, wrote in a blog post: “HoloLens is going to be a commodity.” Here I quote him again,

HoloLens is going to be a commodity. That means it is going to be cheap (which is relative, I know). When you include HoloLens in a solution, you aren’t including an investment in some strange, proprietary whatever. You are just including HoloLens, with a standardized version of Windows, a standard application model, with standard languages and APIs, and everything you can expect a development team to already know or easily learn.

To be cautious, he is not one of the executives. Jerry is basically making developer pitch for HoloLens. Otherwise we would consider it official. Also he probably wouldn’t know how much a HoloLens is going to cost. But still, he is standing inside of the wall, we are outside. What he says carries much more weight than that of many market analysts combined.

Jerry Nixon: “Why you must build a HoloLens app”

I don’t want to say it literally: “HoloLens is going to be cheap”, but I am more comfortable to say: “HoloLens is going to be a commodity”.  So, what does it mean?

I want to draw a comparison with Xbox. Everybody knows Microsoft don’t make money selling Xbox consoles (more likely losing money, I don’t have figures now). Microsoft make money from software (game) sale commissions. Even though Xbox doesn’t make money as a gaming platform, it is an important part of the entire Windows strategy. This is why I don’t like the market analysts. They think of products as separate pieces. Each piece has to make money. If one piece is losing money, it has negative contribution, therefore has no reason to exist. They don’t understand: without the losing money products, the money making products may not make the same money. Xbox is intrinsically important to the entire Windows strategy, so is HoloLens.

Understand Depth Sensor, Gesture Recognition – Some Interesting Videos

I wouldn’t draw a conclusion that HoloLens is going to be cheap, but it is very likely in the ream of very thin or even negative profit margin, for the hardware. At least that is what it should be.

I had tried to guess HoloLens price recently. I had put it in a $800~900 prices range a few days ago. Now I tend to go lower than this. Just how cheap you can call cheap? $800 is not cheap no matter what it can do. I’ll leave this to you.


UAP, HoloLens, Recommended Readings – Developer’s Collection

HoloLens, Recommended Readings – Business Ideas Collection


UAP, HoloLens, Recommended Readings – Developer’s Collection




BUILD Conference is less than one month away (29th, April). I’m collecting some of my posts relating to app development on Windows 10, some of my findings/thoughts about developing for HoloLens.  My intention is to give you one-place-for-all approach, but it’s obviously not. However, if you have done Windows or Windows Phone development before, the links I gave in the posts are pretty much it. For the moment, there isn’t much really, but remember to get a good understanding of the following terms: UAP, Mobile Extension, Adaptive UI, SplitView, RelativePanel, Metro Design Language (the term may have changed, but influence has not). There is a little bit of Windows Holograhic APIs, but nothing materialized. We are expecting to hear a lot more during BUILD conference.

I have a couple of other writings related to this topic. I will add them here when they come out.

By the way, it is a good idea to download and install Windows 10 Technical Preview and Windows 10 Technical Preview SDK. Before install the SDK, download and install Visual Studio 2015 CTP6 first, which can be downloaded on the same link with the SDK. I suggest you install them on a VM. There are some instructions on PCWorld. Also, please make sure you have about 50GB or more space on your hard drive for the whole thing.


HoloLens: Some Early Bits for Developers

Developers: Get Yourself Ready for HoloLens

Digest the Windows 10 Technical Preview SDK (Updated)


Optional Readings:

What Is Mixed Reality, Really?

How HoloLens Will Change Windows UI – (1) Break of Screens

How HoloLens Will Change Windows UI – (2) Another Dimension

Natural User Interface: Is Natural Always Better?

PC + HoloLens: Would It Work?

PC + HoloLens: How It Works

Xbox + HoloLens: How Can They Work Together?

HoloLens Misconception – 3D

From HoloLens to “True” Hologram: How?