Microsoft’s HoloLens hasn’t been updated since introduction nearly three years ago. That’s an incredibly long time in the world of VR — though it pains us to point out that the Oculus Rift was launched just two days before HoloLens and hasn’t been updated either.
One of these devices, it seems, is finally getting an update. The creator of HoloLens, Alex Kipman, has posted a teaser trailer for the upcoming hardware hinting at carbon fiber construction and the idea that it might actually include a processor of some kind.
The original HoloLens was built around an Intel Atom Cherry Trail SoC clocked at 1GHz (the Atom x5-Z8100 provided the primary CPU). There was also a co-processor, dubbed the HPU. This custom silicon combined 24 Tensilica DSP cores and an 8MB cache in a single package, alongside 1GB of DDR3.
Intel has discontinued the low-power Atom SoCs that fed the HoloLens project. The chances are good that Microsoft has moved to an ARM SoC to provide general horsepower under the hood. Nothing in AMD’s product family is a substitute for low-power processors like the x5-Z8100, which leaves ARM as the only likely alternative. There is no word on whether or not the company has continued its research into AI cores or whether or not the silicon solution it was working on in 2017 has been continued for the project.
Initially, rumors suggested that Microsoft would use the Qualcomm XR1 for its HoloLens 2, but now Engadget suggests the chip could be a Snapdragon 850 instead. The Snapdragon 850 series has an integrated DSP, which might mean Microsoft opted not to continue its own private plans. Alternately, Microsoft might use its own HPU combined with a Snapdragon 850 implementation, or even ship both.
Thus far, HoloLens has avoided the tremendous negative press of devices like Google Glass, but it’s also been a niche device primarily suited to developers. This was due, in no small part, to a cozy $3,000 price tag — much higher than your average customer is ever going to be able to afford. The company has said very little about where it intends to market HoloLens 2 or how it sees the market for the device evolving over time — hopefully, we’ll see some of those questions answered when the product is actually unveiled and demonstrated.
- Microsoft Wins $480M Contract to Provide HoloLens to US Military
- Intel Kills the Atom SoC Powering Microsoft’s HoloLens
- Microsoft’s Next HoloLens Will Contain an AI Coprocessor