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Don't worry, the HoloLens 3 isn't dead

What we’re hearing at the moment are speculations from mass media. But we should take a deep breath and take it with a grain of salt.

Is the HoloLens 3 dead?

There’s a lot of scuttlebutt on the internet these days purporting that the next iteration of Microsoft’s mixed-reality device – the HoloLens – is dead in the water. Fueled by a recent report from Business Insider, a number of pundits have chimed in to accelerate the rumors. Not one to shy away from a hot topic, we sat down with XR veteran and SynergyXR CTO Sune Wolff (who has a Ph.D. in Software Engineering) to talk about the latest rumors and to answer the question that’s on everyone’s minds: Is the HoloLens 3 dead? Here’s what he had to share:

Recent reports suggest that the Microsoft HoloLens 3 project is dead. What are your high-level thoughts on this? 

In short, what we’re hearing at the moment are speculations from mass media. In fact, there aren’t any official statements from Microsoft yet, so I think we should take a deep breath and take it with a grain of salt.  

Think about it, Microsoft is still actively updating some of their live mixed reality azure services like Azure Spatial Anchors, so it wouldn’t make a lot of sense if they were considering canceling the next generation of the HoloLens – the flagship device of their mixed reality initiative. 

What we’re hearing at the moment are speculations from mass media. But we should take a deep breath and take it with a grain of salt.

Sune Wolff  |  CTO and Co-Founder of SynergyXR
Is there a reason this report is coming out now? Are they being pressured by the great metaverse rush? 

It’s been three years since Microsoft announced the HoloLens 2, and many are expecting news from Microsoft about their next-generation mixed reality device. The report from Business Insider that kickstarted this discussion has caused journalists to jump to the conclusion that the device is canceled.  

There’s also great pressure from competitors like Meta and Apple, both of whom are rumored to unveil wearable devices this year. Magic Leap is also releasing its second version this year. It would only be natural that Microsoft would react to these new devices with an announcement of their own – sadly this is still missing.  

I expect 2022 to be an exciting year – maybe the biggest and most exciting in XR history!

Sune Wolff I CTO and Co-Founder of SynergyXR

How are Microsoft employees responding to this news? What are we hearing out there? 

There hasn’t been an official announcement from Microsoft of the matter yet. But several high-ranking employees (among these Alex Kipman – the main spokesperson of the HoloLens) have stated on social media that these are all false rumors and that the development of future Microsoft mixed reality devices are going great.  

However, former and current employees have shared stories about lagging direction and missing shared vision of the future of HoloLens. In addition, the massive deal Microsoft made with the US army (estimated at $22B) for a special version of the HoloLens to be used by ground troops has also split the waters. Several employees have shared their dissatisfaction with this collaboration. Add to this, the current battle for tech talent between Meta, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, and it’s no surprise that stories like a canceled HoloLens 3 are surfacing. 

How do you see this playing out in the short- and long-term? 

I expect 2022 to be an exciting year – maybe the biggest and most exciting in XR history! As mentioned, many of the largest companies in the game are releasing new devices this year, and competition has always been extremely healthy for innovation. At SynergyXR we also have some mind-blowing technical news planned for 2022 which I’m sure will get a lot of attention from even the biggest players in the XR industry.