June 19, 2019

HoloLens: Checking with the Reality




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.


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HoloLens, Recommended Readings – Business Ideas Collection