June 25, 2017

What Is Augmented Reality?

This video explains what is Augmented Reality. Enjoy. (Thanks Alex Kipman @akipman  for tweet this).

 

Ill-Studio’s “Another Reality” for MINI – NOWNESS presents from NOWNESS on Vimeo.

 

 

 

HoloLens: Checking with the Reality

 

ddd

 

I’d like to move away from the FOV topic for a while. We will discuss that more when we know more. E3 is a target point where new information will pop up. So, forget about FOV for now, I want to talk about something even more important: Will HoloLens sell? How will it sell?

Conceptually, there is no question there is unlimited use cases, but for the immediate future, not all of them are realized. We have to start with a small subset, that are not only possible, but available and work. Again, there are a lot of unknown, but I am sure we can work on it and adjust over time. I am a fan, but I want to be realistic and objective, because bland optimism won’t help.

Lets start with what HoloLens is NOT or CANNOT do.

HoloLens is not a true mobile device. From CPU power, it is in mobile category, but two things limits its mobility: size and look, not the weight, 400 gram is perfectly portable. HoloLens is not big by any standard for mobility, but because of its shape, there is no one dimension that is small enough to fit it in a pocket or even a purse. There has to be hard-shell case, then you put the case in a bag of any kind. So its portability is probably in the range of a laptop, less than a Surface. HoloLens looks fine, I said it is the best looking HMD set, but it is not subtle enough for use as a wearable working around. Even when you are sitting on a commute train or bus, you wouldn’t want to put it on, let people stare at you. Same when you are sitting in a waiting room of a doctor’s office, train station, or your kids’ dance class. Basically, it is a portable, personal device, you would mostly use it at home or office.

HoloLens is not supposed to wear for a long period time continuous: 1 hour comfortably, 2 hours continuously would be a long time. You would like to put it down after that. So, for a movie, play games, for assistant work during the work day, short term media consummation would be fine.

HoloLens may need to be wired to reach its promises, for two reasons: 1. Wireless streaming is not yet fast enough. As I said, streaming is a huge deal for HoloLens, think about Xbox. 2. If a powerful CPU is not possible on HoloLens, a wired solution need to be applied. I think wired solution is a great way to reduce some technical limitations we see in FOV.

Games and apps that take advantage of 3D holograms will be limited at lunch.

I think the limitations stop here.

Once we accept HoloLens as home or office device, used mainly in door, we are clear where HoloLens is heading.

HoloLens is a computer, a real computer. How real? If you have Surface 3, you know what kind of computer HoloLens is. I have a Surface 3 for two weeks, I can tell you that you should get one as long as you don’t buy it to play hardcore games. I am a developer, and it runs Visual Studio, opening/building large projects with ease. Photoshop runs just as I want to. However, HoloLens as a computer is a feature or benefit, it wouldn’t sell with that alone. It needs 3D holographic games and applications to attract buyers. That’s why we are hearing a lot of game front activities in Microsoft. I used to say that HoloLens doesn’t need 3D games and apps to sells, that could be true for a distant future. I would have to revise my estimation for the immediate future.

For enterprise use, there are immediate cases like education, business presentation, design. Business adoption is always slow. Usually one to two years behind consumer adoptions.

It sounds like HoloLens will likely cost anywhere from $700 to $1000, that’s a big sum of money for something not really practical for day to day life. On the other hand, HoloLens is remarkably innovative. That’s the only device you can experience holograms. So, depending on the quality of initial games and apps. The main hurdle is still the price. Kinect sold 8 million in a 3 month period. Kinect was sold by its novelty, low price ($250) and the benefit of being Xbox 360 assessory (audience already there). HoloLens will pass Kinect in novelty, but nowhere close to Kinect in the last two. So, at my estimated price, HoloLens will mainly sell to enthusiasts, like you and I, at the beginning. If it will release during the holiday, I would comfortably to put up a sales figure about 0.5 million ~ 1 million units during the holidays 2015, significantly more in 2016.

 

Developer’s Collection: Build 2015 Recorded Sessions

HoloLens, Recommended Readings – Business Ideas Collection

 

Review of Surface 3 Reviews, and My Thoughts

 

en-INTL-PDP-Themis-64GB-7G5-00001-LaptopBanner-desktop

 

Surface 3 was released  a few days ago, and will be on store shelves on May 5. Only thing surprised me is they didn’t make it 12″. Otherwise, all accessories can be shared with Surface Pro 3. Speaking of reviews, most of them are not out yet, but a few of are out. They are very important ones. If you like to read those pointless long, detailed reviews, you have to wait a couple more days. If you like to read the short but right to the point ones. I think we have got enough: enough to make a judgment on the product, enough to make the purchase decision. I will pick two of them, my reasoning is: those two are usually very careful in praising Microsoft products, but if they say Surface 3 is good, then it must be good. If they say otherwise, I will add more reviews. Lets say how it goes.

First is  from Yahoo. His review title is: Microsoft’s New Surface 3 Hybrid Tablet: It’s a Terrific Value. This is his deciding sentence at the very end of the review:

Microsoft’s hardware divisions have been firing on all cylinders lately. The non-Pro Surface is another winner and deserves to become a hit.

I probably no need to say more.

The second is David Goldman from CNN. His title is Surface 3: A tiny PC that gets the job done. On the conclusion lines, he wrote,

There is nothing else available on the market with the Surface 3’s combination of price, design quality and size. If you must have all three, then the Surface 3 is for you.

So, I rest my case.

Developers: Get Yourself Ready for HoloLens

I am not really surprised by what they had to say. As I wrote when Surface 3 was still in rumor state: Surface 3 Will Be the Surface for the Mass. I said if Surface 3 will be hot sale if they get to the price point of $500 including the type cover. As it turns out, you have to spend $630 to get Surface 3 base model with type cover. Another $50 with Surface Pen. Reports say you can get Surface 3 + Type Cover + Pen for $600 from Costco. Lets see what we get for $600.

The best way to describe Surface 3 is: It’s a light version of Surface Pro 3. Most people know about SP3, so a comparison between the two makes prefect sense.

Surface 3 is smaller, thinner, lighter, slower, cheaper with better cameras.

Surface 3 is 10.8″ diagonal, SP3 is 12″. Surface 3 is 0.34″ thin, SP3 is 0.35″.  Surface 3 weighs 1.37 lbs, while SP3 weighs 1.49 lbs. Surface 3 runs Intel Cherry Trail CPU, SP3 runs Intel Core i3~i7. Surface 3 sells for $600, SP3 about $1000 and up. Everything else is almost the same.

Surface 3 is for everyone who wants a SP3 but don’t have enough money.

For $600, I think it has reached the mass point considering all factors.

My final thought: Surface 3 might be slower in loading apps comparing with SP3. Main reason is its SSD drives are different from the ones in SP3.

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Analyzing HoloLens Field of View (FOV) – Updated

 

Fig. 1 Peripheral Vision

Fig. 1 Peripheral Vision

 

Update on June 25, 2015:

After exchange with the author from doc-ok.org, now I believe measurement of FOV from the article is indeed in line with what it is in the close-to-final HoloLens prototype.

Update on May 17, 2015:
After reading anon’s comments (in the comment section below), I headed to Doc-Ok.org, and read the article about the author’s 15min try-out of HoloLens. I want to add some updates and comments to this article. Reason #1 is this article is all based on the first prototype shown in January. As many have noticed, there is a big difference between current near-final product and the first prototype, mostly field of view. Reason #2 is even this post is out-dated, it is still of the most viewed.

I choose to keep the original post intact, only add update right here at the top, because I am not convinced that the second demo unit is the product going forward and the first one is not, if you know what I mean.

So, here is my comments to the doc-ok.org article: On the road for VR: Microsoft HoloLens at Build 2015, San Francisco.

  • It is based on the BUILD 2015 unit, no reference of the first one.
  • The article states a FOV of 30×17 degrees. At first I was surprised, but I cannot find facts that prove he’s wrong. I talked with someone else, and I generally accept his estimation in the sense of user experience level, not necessary his numbers. Now, imagine some engineers from NASA are going to wear that to manipulate MARS Rover in July, what is it going to be like? I would like to direct you to another of my post: HoloLens, Field of View, and the Fixes…
  • Regarding transparency, please read this post of mine.
  • Regarding battery life, please read Guessing HoloLens Battery Life.

Update on May 17, 2015 ends. Thanks anon for the head-up.
Field of View (FOV) is the main topic for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Achieving the greatest FOV is one of major measurements of technical success, especially for VR. It is also a potential concern for HoloLens. Recently, I did some research on this topic. I also dove into the limited information I have with HoloLens. By putting these together, I am trying to give you a sense of satisfaction level regarding HoloLens’ FOV. Remember this is not an assessment of the HoloLens device. The writing is based on the mere information I have about HoloLens.

 

About FOV

Field of View (also called Field of Vision) is the extent of the observable world that is seen at any given moment (from Wikipedia). The term is used in the context of human vision or the view angle of instruments. To understand FOV, lets look at human peripheral vision as shown in Fig. 1 (also from Wikipedia).  Peripheral vision is the part of vision surrounding the center focus. For human,  peripheral vision is divided into difference areas: a 60 degrees of inner area called near peripheral vision (shown 30 degrees in Fig. 1, which is half of the symmetrical area). Outside the near peripheral vision is a 120 degree area surrounding the near peripheral vision, called mid-peripheral vision. Outside it is about 200~220 degrees of far peripheral vision.  Generally speaking, anything inside of mid-peripheral vision is important to our vision (120 degrees), outside of it is good to have. Especially with eye tracking technology, far peripheral vision can be remedied greatly.

 

For HoloLens, there are two FOVs: The depth senor’s FOV, which is what the sensor sees, and the wearer’s FOV, which is what the wearer sees. 

 

Why Microsoft Should Cover the VR Ground?

 

FOV of HoloLens – (1) Depth Sensor

In HoloLens, the depth sensors are in charge of mapping the room and recognize user’s hand gestures. The FOV of the depth sensors directly affects these two things. For the first, it affects how wide a 3D space it can map. This is important for 3D space aware applications. For the second, it affects how well the main input method in HoloLens: hand gestures work. In some sense, the second is more significant than the first.

We already know HoloLens has a field of view of 120 degree by 120 degree. To understand what that means, I took a statistical median of a regular man’s anatomical figures (Don’t ask how I figure that out). Also I want to point out the height of the person doesn’t really matter for any adults, because it only concerns distance from the eye to the joint of the upper arm and the forearm), and drew the figure and areas that the 120 degree vision covers. The result is in Fig. 2.

 

Fig. 2 Depth Sensor FOV

Fig. 2 Depth Sensor FOV

 

In Fig. 2, the shaded area is the space HoloLens depth sensor can’t see. First thing we realize: if the person stands up, there is a certain 3D space close to the person’s feet cannot be seen by the depth sensors.  The area gets much smaller when sitting down. I am not sure if there is technology in place to deal with it, but I don’t think it’s something important, unless applications really need depth info of that area. More interesting thing is: when you put down your upper arm, then keep your forearm to the front horizontally, the depth sensor should be able to see your hand. That’s important because that’s likely the bottom limit for hand gesture recognition. So, basically, in order for your hands/finger movement to be recognized, the afore mentioned pose should be enough, maybe raise the hand a little bit. That’s not what some have said you have to raise your hand to the mid-air. If you are sitting at the desk, just put your hands naturally at where you are using a keyboard, your hand gestures should be seen.

Why HoloLens Is Not Kinect

 

FOV of HoloLens – (2) Wearer

Now we will look at what the wearer sees when he puts on the HoloLens. We are specifically talking about the view of the digital content, not including the surrounding real world objects. Information I have about this is almost nothing. Most of journalists who were given a demo on Jan. 21st stated the FOV is limited, some even said it is narrow. This doesn’t give us any information because it’s all depending on your point of view. I believe those comments are based on the comparison to FOVs in VR handsets. Eventually I decided to use Daniel Rubino’s comment under his article on Windows Central.  Reasons are: First, no one else gives a measurable information that is helpful for my purpose. Second, Daniel is a reputable writer and I can trust him for being factual, non-bias. In answer reader’s question in the same article, he said,

…field of vision, it was fine, but I would liked to have seen more. Look straight ahead at a wall, now put a rectangle in front of you that takes up about 80% of your space, and that is what it is like.

Remember this is just from his impression, we shouldn’t take his word literally. However, I feel that’s enough information to answer many questions about FOV of HoloLens. You have to do some homework as I do. I take the “80%” as 80% of digital area are visible comparing to a general 120 degree mid-peripheral vision (I have read his comment many times, and looked at many places to draw the conclusion). 80% of the 120 degree vision is about 100 degrees of FOV (not linear, trust my math).  I use Fig. 3 to show what it is like for a 80% area comparing to the whole.

 

Fig. 3 80% Vision Area

 

The pretend outer rectangle is the entire 120 degree of vision, the inner rectangle would be the 80% area. From the look of it, 100 degrees of FOV is pretty good. It depends on your purpose, for totally immersive gamming like VR does, this is probably not enough. I believe the FOVs in VR are bigger than that, but for anything else, I think it is not a concern at all.

 

PC + HoloLens: Would It Work?

Why HoloLens’ Most Remarkable Achievement Is Its Display

 

 

UAP, HoloLens, Recommended Readings – Developer’s Collection

 

uap

 

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?

 

 

Why HoloLens Is Not Kinect

holo-kinect1g
Since HoloLens was accounced back in Jan 21st, many articles on the Internet have referred Kinect while reporting on HoloLens in various ways. Most of them tend to put a shade of skepticism over HoloLens from the comparison. In this post, I will try to give a little inside look at why this comparison comes so often and why it’s still invalid.

Sure, both HoloLens and Kinect use hand gesture for interaction, both use voice command for action control. Both are developed by the same group of people in Microsoft, and both happen to be amazing technology with no peer in the world. Indeed, HoloLens has a couple of Kinect sensors inside it, miniaturized of course. However, amazing technology doesn’t always lead to great consumer adoption. Despite great initial sales, Kinect’s momentum hasn’t been able sustained, which leads some people in the media draw comparison with HoloLens in the market department. I think people who draw comparison between the two are missing the point.

Kinect is a sensor, it does a lot of things, like body movement recognition, field depth mapping, etc., but it is still a sensor. HoloLens is a full featured computer, Kinect is just one of the its many sensors, but that’s not my point. HoloLens is a display device. As I have pointed out in another post, what distinguishes Hololens from anything else is its display technology. It breaks the traditional screen barrier: Contents are no longer contained in a fix-sized screen, not to mention its 3D holographic capability. But this is still not quite my point.

In essence, Kinect is an input device. HoloLens is a output device first, input device second. And that is my point. So, what does it mean? What difference does it make? Lets take a closer look (I know I have used this sentence too much, but I am not tired yet).

HoloLens Technology – 3D World Mapping

Kinect is not a great input device, neither is HoloLens. To understand this, please look at another post of mine: Natural User Interface: Is Natural Always Better? Sure, Natural User Interface (NUI) is great concept, however, no matter how we label it, in the presence of mouse, keyboard and game controller, every other ways of interactions look inferior, that includes hand gesture, voice, gaze and touch. Those NUIs are only valuable when you don’t have access to a mouse, keyboard or game controller, like the way you use a phone, a tablet on the go. Whenever you’re siting at a desk, a mouse is always the best way of human-computer interaction. I think every gamers or game developers agree with me that use gesture to play a hard core game is close to impossible. So, basically, Kinect is trying to use an inferior input method to replace great input methods. And we know the results.

HoloLens is an input device as is Kinect, but its main function is an output device: a display. It is its own display, it can also be a display for a PC, a display for Xbox. The key point here, it doesn’t exclude other input methods: mice, keyboards and game controllers. You can still use a PC the way you use it before, HoloLens just adds another great display. You can play games on Xbox the way you always do, with a game control in hand, the game can be streamed to a giant display on Hololens. Even you use HoloLens as a standalone machine, you can still use a physical keyboard, a mouse, or a game controller. What does it mean, really?

HoloLens Technology – Eye Tracking

It means every application that works on a PC should work with HoloLens, because you consider HoloLens as a mere display. Every Xbox games will be instantly available to HoloLens, I said every.

Yes, I heard your argument: Why do I use HoloLens only as a display? I buy HoloLens for 3D holograms. I believe there will be 3D holographic games, and 3D holographic applications. DirectX has been used for game development, I believe having those games appear as 3D holograms wouldn’t be a major problem, but my point is even without those 3D stuff, HoloLens gives you a giant display which is can be a huge boost to your PC or gaming experience.

In summary, Kinect is a input device, which is its weak point, in my opinion. HoloLens still has the same input device function, but it doesn’t exclude other input methods. HoloLens’ display is what makes it great: 3D or 2D.

 

PC + HoloLens: Would It Work?

Why HoloLens’ Most Remarkable Achievement Is Its Display

Xbox + HoloLens: How Can They Work Together?

Surface 3 Will Be the Surface for the Mass

 

surface-2

 

Report came out from WinBeta that “Microsoft is planning to launch a successor to the Surface 2 soon”. This new Surface will be released at or before BUILD conference (starting April 29th), available soon after. Also WindowsCentral have learned the new Surface will sport Intel Atom (Cherry Tail) CPU.  This is still in rumor state, but as we all know, based on the sources, it’s close to official. Microsoft have a tradition to give away stuff to BUILD attendees (sometimes with a nominal cost). This could be a good candidate.

A few interesting things are missing: name, size, weight, battery life and price.

The reports didn’t mention what it will be called, but said it is not in the Pro category. It’s no longer Windows RT as is Surface 2. So the name is tricky to guess: they may want to distant it from Windows RT. In the meantime, it’s not Pro. So, if I were the one in the marketing, I would call it Surface M3 (M for middle tier or multi-purpose), which leave room for 8″ Surface, which would be Surface S3.

Will There Be Low Cost HoloLens?

This is a successor of Surface 2, not a 8″ device. So the question is: Will it be 10.6″ as Surface 2 or 12″ as Surface Pro 3? I lean on 12″. The reason is: when Surface Pro 3 was released, Microsoft had specifically said the 12″ touch/type covers are compatible to the future devices, but never mention the 10.6″ ones. As we know this quite well: what they don’t says speak louder than what do say. We don’t know yet, but many would agree 12″ is much better than  10.6″.

WinBeta also said it will be fanless, which is obvious for Cherry Trail CPU. If it 12″, I expect it will be very thin, and very light, it can be somewhere around 1 lbs. As for battery life, I would expect 12+hrs.

As to price, there are two factors: one is Atom machines are generally cheap, $250 ~ $400 is normal range. However, Surface is a premium brand, they don’t do cheap material, flimsy design or low build quality. So I would take Surface 2 price as reference, it is likely somewhere around $400~$500.

From HoloLens to “True” Hologram: How?

Will it come with Surface Pen? We don’t know, but it should, at least as an add-on.

This new Surface is long awaited device, because its capability and affordability, it is the right Surface for the mass. Surface 2 is a great machine, which I have, but many feel the limitation of not running legacy programs. (I have said this before, Windows RT was a strategic play. There was technical-politics into play between Intel and Microsoft. Now this appears to be over.) Surface Pro 3 is wonderful for power user, but the price is just too high for general public. If this new Surface can get to $500 including keyboard, it will be a big sell. Remember, today’s Atom CPU is no longer the netbook era’s Atom processor, It’s running great on almost everything. At its worst, it will sell better than Surface 2 did. But remember, even Surface 2 out sold Surface Pro 3 by a big margin.

 

Some Important Information About HoloLens
HoloLens: Release Date (Updated)
HoloLens: Price Estimation

 

 

HoloLens, Recommended Readings – Business Ideas Collection

biz1

I am starting to put some of my writings about HoloLens into collections for ease of reading, so readers with certain interest in mind don’t have look around. No, it is not recycling the posts, I have many other topics. The reason is sincere.

This first one is business idea collection. These are the business use cases I have come up with so far. More will be added as we go along. Not all ideas are mine, but I have certainly put them into a serious thought. I have consciously filtered out the ones that are hard to do, or infeasible in near term. Most of the ideas are doable, and make business sense. I hope they are not only interesting for general readers, but also beneficial to businesses and app developers. Enjoy.

Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (21) Holo-Golf Putting
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (20) Holo-Golf Swing
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (19) Holo-Game Room
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens: (18) Holo-Oscar
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (17) Holo-Advertising
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (16) Holo-Map
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (15) Holo-Rock Star
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (14) Holo-Classroom, Holo-Conference
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (13) Holo-Home Design
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (12) Holo-Newspaper, Magazine, Book
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (11) Holo-Concert
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (10) Holo-TicketMaster
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (9) Holo-Hotel Reservation
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (8) Holo-Movie
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (7) Holo-Escort
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (6) Holo-Online Store
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (5) Holo-Tutor
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (4) Holo-Repair and Holo-AAA
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (3) Holo-Support
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens: (2) Holo-Architect
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens: (1) Holo-IKEA

 

 

Is It Possible: HoloLens to Release in July?

 

microsoft-hololens

 

Look, I am not a sensationalist, even though I don’t have to follow someone’s standard of journalism: I am not a journalist, or a writer by any measure. I am just a software developer and tech enthusiast, but I have no need to make up story to get attention. I say things on solid ground, even sometimes people read my posts say: what?!

First piece of info I want to use is Windows 10 to release this summer. Microsoft have said something on the same line, but never specific say to be available this summer. Remember general availability is different from RTM (Release To Manufacturer). Available means everyone can have it.

Second piece I want to use is: It had been reported that NASA is going to use HoloLens starting July.  Remember that’s not trial. They have been doing that for over a year now. When I first saw this news in July, I thought, what is going on?  HoloLens runs on Windows 10, and no one had imagined Windows 10 would be released in July. How is this possible? They can’t use an OS that is not released, right? Now we know Windows 10 will be available this summer (not just released). If you put the two pieces together, you get the conclusion that Windows 10 has to be released in July.

Now here is the guess work: I believe they don’t just give NASA HoloLens, and everyone else has to wait. Technically if HoloLens is ready for NASA, it should be ready for everyone. Wild cards are: They can have two different versions, which I doubt, or wait for mass production for the public, which I think is possible, or they may want to wait until enough apps and game are available.

In any case, I think releasing HoloLens in July is not that crazy.

 

Super-affordable Lumia Is a Good Play for Microsoft

How-much_feat

 

Microsoft have teased through Lumia Conversations about super-affordable Lumia Windows Phone(s), via post titled: The Lumia story continues.

Intrigued? Come back tomorrow, March 19th, at 8am UK time to find out more.

I have been an advocate for low cost Windows Phone all along. With high end phones are skipped all together last holiday season. There hasn’t been a flagship phone since Lumia 930. However, lower end devices continue: Lumia 63x, Lumia 53x, Lumia 435.

Microsoft has insisted same experience from low end to flagship. My opinion is there are some flaws in this kind of thinking. The market is like everything else: There is a balance between user experience and affordability. There are more people in the world are willing to sacrifice user experience for money than the ones who are willing to sacrifice money for user experience. It is not just developing world. It’s the same thing in developed countries. I have applauded the release of Lumia 435, but lets go lower, how about this:

Lumia 340!

We will know tomorrow afternoon.

Two Important Questions About HoloLens

HoloLens: Future Is Months Away

 

What Is Mixed Reality, Really?

 

mrmicrosoft-hololens-life-on-mars

 

Before we know about HoloLens and Windows Holographic, there are Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR). VR targets at cutting the reality from the user’s view, and making sure user is totally immersed into the virtual world. That’s main source of thrill when you wear a VR headset. Yes, the content is important, but bungee jumping from 3D movie theatre is different from on a VR headset. AR, on the hand, focuses on overlaying virtual objects onto the real world. At the current state, most workable or demoed AR implementation are very light overlays on top of what the user see in the real world. Mostly numbers, text, diagrams, very light in image and video, let alone 3D. There are reports that some AR implementations, like CastAR’s or Magic Leap’s, put holograms on the real world, but those are far from workable products.

Some Important Information About HoloLens

HoloLens, or Windows Holographic in general is called Mixed Reality during their announcement in the Windows 10 event. Microsoft didn’t invent the term Mixed Reality, but it is probably the first time this term is brought in the spot light of tech scene. As I have mentioned in another post,  Mixed Reality is indeed used in Windows 10 Holographic APIs (in form of namespace Windows::Mirage::Media::MixedRealityCapture). This confirmed it’s formality. So, is this “Mixed Reality” thing (I am the first to use it in capital, but that doesn’t matter) a mere marketing trick or word game? Yes and no.

In my opinion, “Mixed Reality” fits HoloLens better than Augmented Reality. For one, conceptually, AR and VR are in two opposite of the spectrum. Of course, everyone agree that they can overlap with each other, but in reality, if you turn a VR into AR, it defeat a purpose of VR. On the hand, AR has no intention to bring VR effect to reality. HoloLens doesn’t care. Please look at the two images above: In the top image, the wearer sees very minimum amount of virtual objects. Over 90% of her field of view, or her mind is in real world. In the second image, however, the viewer sees 100% of virtual world. Should we call HoloLens VR, or should we call it AR? It doesn’t matter, since it can scale from 0% virtual to 100% virtual (my number may go extreme a little bit, but that doesn’t change the argument).

HoloLens: Release Date (Updated)

Important thing to the user is what problem it’s trying to solve, not how it is called. HoloLens tries to bring the virtual world to the real world, so that they don’t just look real, you can interact with them like real. To me, the term AR and VR don’t catch the essence of HoloLens.

HoloLens: Price Estimation
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (17) Holo-Advertising
Will There Be Low Cost HoloLens?
Some Business Ideas with HoloLens – (16) Holo-Map

 

 

A Windows 8 Ad That Stands Out

Microsoft posted a Windows 8 Ad video which is amazingly good. The video shows how a little kid can teach grow ups to use Windows 8. I wonder what the US media ice-holes think when they watch this video. Those ice-holes have been shouting to world: Windows 8 is hard to use without the start button. They will say the same if you give them the start button. They why I call them ice-holes.

This has to be the best TV ad I have seen in a long time (not on TV yet). The last one I have seen on the same was the Lumia ads in French. Just for reference.

 

 

Source: WPCentral

Why Nokia Lumia 920 Is the Most Advanced Smartphone on Earth

920-Hero-1-jpgHere is quick run down as to why the Nokia Lumia 920 is the most advanced smartphone on earth.  I am not getting into any details, just a list. However, I only write what I am sure about. I am responsible for that.

1. PureView Camera with OIS.

Still Image – In low light conditions, there is no competition so far. No other phone comes close. In daylight condition, Nokia 808 is better. However Lumia 920 is still top notch for daylight images.

Video – with OIS, Lumia 920’s optical stabilization is totally amazing. There is simply no other phone comes close.

2. PureMotion HD+ screen. Pixel density 332 ppi, which is highest of smartphones. 60fps refresh rate, which is fastest of all smartphones. Not stopping here, the screen has the high contrast ratio of all smartphones.

3. Audio. HAAC recording. I don’t know if it is THE best, but it is among the best.

4. Amazing Design. I can only say it is the best. There is no other way to say it.

5. Outstanding build quality. Try search “Lumia 920 torture test”, see what you find. There is no one phone comes anywhere close to this one.

I don’t have to mention wireless charging, Nokia Drive, City Lense.

 

 

 

 

 

The Situation of Lumia 920

Lumia 920

Lumia 920

Nokia Lumia 920 is unquestionably the most advanced smartphone on the market. The success of L920 will give Lumia brand a big boast. However, from sales’ volume stand point, 920 alone is not enough. The volume still belongs to the lower end phones, like Lumia 620.

Lets look at what Nokia have in the near future that would contribute to sales. In my opinion, only two: Lumia 920 and Lumia 620. All the WP7 devices should be phasing out now. The total sales of WP7 device will only decline. Lumia 820 is not selling that much from what I see. Problem with 820 is there is no compelling values for a mid-range phone. It can’t in any way compare to 920, but the price difference is two little.

Because of supply issues, and market availability, Lumia 920 can’t reach its market potential, people just can’t buy it anywhere. We have no idea what prevent Nokia from making enough 920 to satisfy the market, but we have to wait and see. In the high end market, 920 is absolutely the best phone, but in the low end market, 620 is the only choice. For $250, 620 is a remarkable phone. People’s reaction is very positive. Nokia should bring 620 to all the markets, not just developing countries.

Apart from Lumia 920 and 620, what I want to see is a $150 range WP8 phone from Nokia. That’ll be Lumia 420.