Alex Kipman just hinted that Microsoft will announce a new version of HoloLens on February 24. Here's everything we know about it

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HoloLensTEDTED

  • There's a new hint that Microsoft will announce a new HoloLens at Mobile World Congress.
  • Alex Kipman, the man responsible for the device, posted a YouTube video on Monday that seemed to tease the device.
  • Here's everything we know so far about it.

Microsoft's Alex Kipman, the man responsible for the HoloLens augmented reality device, posted a cryptic video to YouTube on Monday that gives a major hint that a rumored new version of the headset will be unveiled later this month.

About a month ago, Microsoft sent out invitations to a press conference to be held on February 24 in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress conference. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will be there and Julia White, corporate vice president of Microsoft's cloud Azure. But Kipman was also scheduled to be at the event, setting off a wave of speculation about a new HoloLens.

Microsoft has been selling the HoloLens for a few years now aimed at enterprise users with a steep retail price tag of $5,000 per device. It's a popular device for certain uses like trade-show demonstrations. And it's got a good following in the defense industry. 

In fact in November Bloomberg reported that Microsoft landed a $480 million contract with the US Army for up to 100,000 devices. Microsoft doesn't talk much about HoloLens sales. But in a European Patent Office  video released in April, 2018, it pegged sales at about 50,000 devices.

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Microsoft's MWC 19 website talks up its "intelligent cloud," describing how "advanced sensors and AI at the edge to make technology more personal and natural." That latter bit about "AI at the edge" appears to be code for HoloLens.

We know that the new HoloLens will include a fancy new AI chip, confirmed by Microsoft in July, 2017. It's also expected to include Microsoft's latest generation of the Kinect sensor, the Verge reports and the rumor is the device will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 850 processor, meaning it will be powered by an ARM chip, not an Intel one.  

All of this could point to a consumer aimed device and, if so, it would have to have a smaller price tag.

Other rumors include a new HoloLens design, according to MSPowerUser, and that the headset may have a bigger field of view, addressing one of the biggest complaints about the device.

A final rumor seems to be that HoloLens 2 will include a special version of Windows 10, reports Tom's Guide. Windows 10 has run on ARM for a while but it's known to have many limitations.

Microsoft having a big presence at Mobile World Congress is also new this year. The company hasn't been a splashy part of the annual tech extravaganza since it bowed out of Windows phones.

As for Kipman's video,  you'd need to be Professor Langdon of DiVinci Code fame to decode it. It's a series of computer generated images (one looks like a chip) and the press conference date.

Still, that's a very strong hint that we'll hear more about HoloLens 2 then.

 

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