Microsoft HoloLens is an untethered, mixed reality headset that one can use for both VR and AR. The device has been in operation since at least 2014, with a 2015 unveiling. In 2016, Microsoft unveiled its new HoloLens Development Edition. The Development Edition features Bluetooth 4.1, Windows 10, and holographic technology with a $3,000 price tag.
Third-generation Microsoft HoloLens planned for 2019
The device has yet to see further development since that time, but new internal documents within Microsoft say that a new HoloLens headset is in the works for 2019. Codenamed “Sydney,” the new mixed reality device will feature a better display, a second-generation holographic processing unit (proprietary to Microsoft), and a new sensor array.
The new sensor array will include the Kinect sensor, giving the mixed reality headset even further motion range capabilities. The third-generation device also looks to have better battery life, a must for any device in any tech arena, along with a thinner and lighter design. Portability is also significant for everyday consumers. An AI coprocessor will bring artificial intelligence to the headset, with AI becoming a huge trend within the tech world.
The new HoloLens should see a Q1 2019 release, which means that Microsoft could announce it by the end of 2018.
Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro tablets planned for 2018
The internal Microsoft document also shows three surface tablets. Of these, one will be a budget-friendly Microsoft Surface tablet (codenamed “Libra”). Libra will come in two versions with 10-inch displays and hold a retail price of $400, Bloomberg reports. The Surface Pro has an $800 price tag, a turnoff to more cost-conscious customers. Microsoft wants to win the everyday market and turn consumers away from the iPad Mini.
A Surface Pro replacement will also land this year, currently under the codename “Carmel.” Carmel will add two new mobile processors to its lineup, Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake. There’s no word on when either of these new processors will arrive to market, though, but Carmel won’t land too long after they do.
Even as Microsoft has a few new Surface tablets in the works, the Redmond company plans to bring its Surface Book 2 to India later this year.
Andromeda to be a dual-screen, hand-held device
“Andromeda” is another codename in Microsoft’s internal documents. It represents an upcoming smartphone that will have two screens and be a hand-held device. The so-called Surface Phone rumor has floated around for the last year or two, with little evidence for it. “Andromeda” could be the Surface Phone that Windows fans have been waiting for.
Early rumors about the Surface Phone in 2016 said that the device would feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 830 processor with 10-nanometer architecture and 8GB of RAM. A later leak called for the Surface Phone to have the Snapdragon 835 and 6GB of RAM instead. We know that the Surface Phone will have two screens, making the connection between Andromeda and the rumored Surface Phone even stronger. Microsoft’s India President said in an interview that “we should never be talking about last words” when referring to questions about the Surface Phone and Surface product lineup. This alone leaves room for further product development.
New Xbox game consoles codenamed “Scarlett”; 2020 release
“Scarlett” is another interesting codename referring to a family of new Xbox devices. Microsoft has at least one new Xbox game console in the works for 2020, but documents suggest that the Xbox could be two or more Xbox game consoles. There could be a refresh of the current Xbox One X alongside the premium Xbox console.
Microsoft product plans could change, internal documents nostalgic instead of futuristic
Carmel, Libra, Andromeda, and Scarlett sound like game-changing devices for Windows fans, but the internal documents leaked here stem from when Terry Myerson was the head of the Windows and Devices Group. Myerson has left Microsoft, leaving these plans up in smoke possibly.
A new generation of HoloLens is possible, probable even, considering Microsoft’s advantage in the mixed reality market. The new Surface and Surface Pro tablets are another given, since Microsoft has invested into the Surface line. The Surface line started out as another Microsoft offering but has quickly risen to the top of the tablet market.
The Xbox consoles in 2020 are very likely to occur. As for the Surface Phone, however, the rise in dual-screened phones could intrigue Microsoft to enter this arena and get ahead as it has done with HoloLens. We don’t know if Microsoft will, however, seeing that the company hasn’t made any new smartphones in the last few years.
And yet, Microsoft is partnering with BlackBerry for BlackBerry Enterprise Bridge, phone security for Microsoft’s Office apps. Additionally, Microsoft Build 2018 last month produced a new “Your Phone” app for smooth Windows 10 PC-to-phone transition. With that said, we should heed the words of the Microsoft India President and never say never.