June 25, 2017

In 2019, You May Not Need a Smartphone, Or a Tablet


Imagine, there will be no screen.

Clearly, I have touched this topic more than once(here, here, here). I have wrote about using Hololens as a display for Xbox, PC and gone as far as fascinating a miniature HoloLens on the phone and a giant HoloLens on the wall, but I have never put things together to imagine what it is like when there will be no screen on a phone, a tablet, a laptop or a PC.

Some Important Information About HoloLens

Lets watch a video created by Microsoft Office Lab, called Microsoft Office Labs Vision 2019. There are different versions, this version was made in 2009, the original title states Vision 2019. No explanation required.

Now forget about whether this will be true in 2019, for a second, think about what it’s like if computer screens are gone. If there is no screen, then any surface can be a screen: the coffee table, the desktop, the cubical wall, the office wall, the teacup, the newspaper. No, that’s not good enough, that’s so 2009. Today, in the context of HoloLens, a screen can exists in the air, or even in the vacuum, the whole concept of screen is gone.

HoloLens: Release Date (Updated)

The essence of the HoloLens is NO SCREEN. If you still don’t get it. Lets continue. With HoloLens, the new law of existence is:

M{your world} = I{yourself} + R{the real world} + D{the digital world}

In the terms of Windows Holographic, M is called mixed reality, I is called Human, R is called World, D is called Holograms. And remember R and D are almost indistinguishable,  I didn’t make this up, this is real.

I’d like to quote Craig Mundie’s talk in 2011 from The Sydney Morning Herald,

When the user looks at the phone, instead of seeing a screen it can beam individual rays of light into your eyes right on your retina … [so] you can look at your phone and see HDTV. I don’t know whether the big screen tablet pad category is going to remain with us or not.

Standing in the spring of 2015, a few months before HoloLens launch, when we look back at what Mundie said in 2011, you know what he said is starting to be realized: The only difference between a phone, a tablet, a laptop is the screen size. When the screen no longer exists, what’s the difference between them? Nothing. Well, CPU, the computing power, you might argue. In the world of cloud computing, more and more computing power are consumed on the cloud, and you don’t have to carry it with you. For the local computing, I am sure HoloLens is a more powerful computer than any smartphones, and majority of tablets. For office computing or home computing, you can have a powerful PC on the desk, HoloLens works as a display.

What Is Mixed Reality, Really?

The only problem is the size of the HoloLens. But remember, HoloLens has two Kinects inside, an entire computer, a light engine, lenses, sound systems and a bunch of sensors, it weighs 400grams. Who can imagine this two years ago, when you can’t even wear one Kinect on the head? We heard an entire Intel computer can reside in a thumb sized stick. Could HoloLens turn to a mere eyewear in 2019? I am hopeful.

In 2019, you may not need a smartphone, or a tablet.

(Just for argument’s sake, some say, ODG already got AR glass as small as an eyewear. Lets me say this, they are miles away from HoloLens, I will talk about this later.)

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