Microsoft snubs Hololens loyalists by already ending feature updates – even though version 2 isn't out yet

That $5,000 headset you splashed out on, it's done in terms of non-security tweaks

Microsoft will no longer improve the operating system for its Hololens headset, save for security fixes.

The Windows giant updated its firmware earlier this month for the headset but in the notes accompanying the release noted that the "HoloLens (1st gen) is entering Long Term Servicing (LTS) state."

In plain English that means it will no longer update the system to add new features i.e. it is effectively abandoning the kit. It will still provide security updates but doesn't say for how long. The reference to first-generation Hololens is a little unusual given that the second generation isn't actually on the market yet.

You can pre-order a Hololens 2 for a market-busting $3,500 (even the over-hyped Magic Leap One costs $2,295) and that doesn't include access to its developer program, which starts at an additional $99 a month. The original unit was $3,000 for developers and $5,000 for enterprise customers.

Microsoft showed off its updated Hololens 2 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February but it has still yet to give a launch date. So the tech goliath is cutting off updates to its current product – not exactly a glowing endorsement of the technology.


Hola HoloLens: Reg man gets face time with Microsoft's holographic headset


Hololens 2 appears to be a marked improvement on the first headset. It has doubled the field-of-view, which is the most critical metric when you're talking about a headset that allows you to see through the real world, and simulates virtual objects in front of and within it. It has also improved tracking to the extent that Microsoft claims the device is able to follow individual fingers, rather than just your hand's movements, potentially greatly increasing its use.

Microsoft, somewhat weirdly, also claims that the new version is "three times more comfortable" than the now-defunct Hololens 1. Those who have tried it out say that the headset feels less clunky and sits on your head better. It also doesn't require a Microsoft representative to show you how to put it on properly, unlike Magic Leap.

Not ready for primetime

But the fact that Microsoft has decided to simply cut off Hololens 1 is proof that it was only marginally more useful than a proof of concept. And while Hololens 2 is seemingly a significant improvement, it is still not ready for broader public use, which is why the company is aiming the product squarely at business.

This week Microsoft announced support for open-source standard OpenXR on Hololens 2. OpenXR is designed with AR headsets in mind and is a sign that Microsoft is willing to grab adopters wherever they are, rather than seek to control a blossoming AR market that doesn't exist.

In short: if you bought a Hololens, if it isn’t already gathering dust, it soon will be. Should you buy a Hololens 2 when it becomes available? Or a Magic Leap One in between? Honestly, no. The tech's not there, and this withdrawal of OS support only serves to highlight how far there is to go. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021