Microsoft hinted HoloLens 3 will happen but said its customers “don’t need a successor yet”.
HoloLens 2 shipped back in 2019, three years after the original headset. In a new blog post announcing improved Teams integration in HoloLens 2’s Dynamics 365 Guides, Microsoft’s new mixed reality VP Scott Evans discussed the company’s approach to a successor device:
One thing Evans has said Microsoft hears from customers is that, unlike consumers who expect a constant crop of new gadgets, businesses don’t want to have to replace their devices every two years. That causes too much churn. “No one wants to be obsoleted for 10% better capabilities. They don’t need a successor yet, but they want to know it will be there at the right time,” he said.
Evans said Microsoft is pushing forward on all core hardware technologies: display, tracking, sensors, battery life. “We’re just looking for the right design point to make it a meaningful update. They want a successor device that’s going to enable an even higher return on investment,” Evans said.
Back in February Business Insider reported a device that would have been named HoloLens 3 was canceled last year following “confusion and strategic uncertainty” and the formation of a partnership with Samsung. But that partnership apparently was a “shit show”, and Samsung is reportedly now going ahead with its own headset separate from Microsoft. In June Microsoft’s long time mixed reality figurehead Alex Kipman left the company, with Scott Evans taking over.
Meanwhile Microsoft has been pushing ahead with its lucrative HoloLens IVAS – a heavily modified variant of HoloLens 2 for the US Army. The contract is worth up to $21.88 billion over 5-10 years with a maximum eventual order of 120,000 units. However, it has been plagued with poor performance reviews as the device struggles to handle the varied harsh real-world conditions needed for military use.
Evans’ comments suggest HoloLens 3 is now once again being worked on, but it doesn’t sound like it will happen soon.