Extended Reality Glasses: Who Is Winning?
Extended reality (XR) technology is gaining momentum. And at this point, ALL of the tech giants are going after it.
The question is... which company will design the headset that dominates all categories of XR—virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR)?
Tech visionaries predict that someone is bound to develop a device that merges all three, VR, AR, and MR, into one device! One extended reality solution that delivers all variations of real and synthetic content. After all, people probably do not want the inconvenience of buying several sets and switching between them.
And we’re about to share with you, the company who is winning this particular XR battle…
The Hardest One To Overcome: Mixed Reality
Out of the three types of XR, we believe that mixed reality has the most technological barriers associated with it. Successfully merging reality and computer-generated content into one experience is no easy task. It’s computationally expensive and the hybrid environment must fool the human mind, which has sophisticated spatial intelligence.
Therefore, mixed reality is the most critical type of XR to overcome in order to create the “Master XR Headset” or “Master XR Glasses.”
Verifying consumer demand for Mixed Reality has also proven to be the most difficult for the three. Right now, most people are only willing to experiment with XR content on their mobile phones and lower-priced VR headsets and glasses.
Between the technical challenges in developing the software and hardware, and the ever-present demand question, very few public companies are throwing their hat into the mixed reality ring.
But there is one company who has rolled the dice and managed to make something that looks pretty darn good…
The HoloLens from Microsoft
Where Facebook appears to be bullish on consumer-driven Virtual Reality, Microsoft has gone the business-to-business route with Mixed Reality.
And the results are impressive…
You can play super Mario on a city street. You can play Minecraft on your kitchen table. And you can open your internet browser anywhere with your fingers…
Right now, the HoloLens delivers the best mixed-reality experience we’ve seen.
But that experience doesn’t come cheap. The HoloLens comes in at a price point of $3,000 for developers and $5,000 for commercial uses.
Clearly, average consumers are not the HoloLens’ current target audience.
While this impressive piece of technology is out of consumer reach for now, Microsoft undoubtedly has an advantage over the other tech behemoths in the realm of mixed reality. They have the first-mover advantage—a true head start in the inevitable grind required to perfect a technology.
When HoloLens was first revealed it suffered from a severely restricted field of view (just 35-degrees). Since the release, Microsoft has managed to improve this issue with research and development efforts—filing patents to improve the issue in 2017.
Unless the other companies, like Apple and Google, are keeping their mixed reality projects under tight wraps, Microsoft appears to be the only big company pursuing the complex beast of mixed reality. And Microsoft’s market penetration strategy is rock-solid too.
By following a price skimming strategy (starting with a high price and dropping the price over time), Microsoft will be able to offset the expenses for future improvements on the HoloLens. And they will eventually offer the product in the consumer market.
Think about the original PCs in the 70s and 80s—only businesses and computer hobbyists bought them at the beginning. It’s very possible that the HoloLens will follow a similar trajectory into the consumer market.
And who knows—maybe this time around Microsoft will be able to capture a larger part of the hardware market than they did last time. They were a major player in the inception of personal computers with their 2D GUI-based operating system. And it looks like they are going to do it again with 3D. And they could own the hardware as well.