Folding phones are cool, but HoloLens 2 is cooler — here's why

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Dec 17, 2013
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Folding phones are getting a lot of attention but Microsoft's HoloLens progress is moving holographic computing closer to the masses.
Folding phones are exciting, but the real story of Mobile World Congress 2019 is HoloLens and mixed reality computing. Microsoft's foldable Surface Andromeda PC running Windows Core OS could have been the next step beyond smartphones, but holographic computing led by HoloLens is Microsoft's leap into mobile computing's future instead.

Admittedly, we are a long way from a consumer device, but as HoloLens creator Alex Kipman acknowledged during the HoloLens 2 introduction at MWC, the age of holographic computing is here. The hundreds of companies using HoloLens in various sectors to achieve their business goals suggest that claim is more than marketing hype. This was reiterated by Vice President Trimble Buildings, a Microsoft partner, Roz Buick, who said "for many of our customers mixed reality is no longer futuristic technology nor a gimmick … it's real working technology that's adding value in the field every day."
Additionally, through hardware, platform, partnership, and Azure cloud services advancements announced this year, Microsoft is moving an already successful model even further with its target market: the world's more than two billion front-line workers.

The potential market for its wearable PC is larger than Microsoft's current 1.5 billion PC installed base. And, like Windows PC proliferation of the past, which also began in the enterprise, Microsoft retains the following strengths: It's providing Windows, a familiar enterprise-accepted platform, a supporting infrastructure of services and security, and the ability for partners to conform this wearable PC (like traditional PCs of the past) to their specific needs. It adds to this the modern advantage of a host of Azure cloud and AI services for mixed reality computing. As Microsoft's goal decades ago was to put a PC on every desk, its current goal is to put a wearable PC, on every frontline worker's face. Microsoft seems better positioned to continue its methodic expansion of mixed reality within this two billion strong "niche" market than Samsung and Huawei are to be successfully peddling $2,000 (or more) folding phones for a niche market that is much less defined.

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