Windows Mixed Reality

One of the headline features of the Fall Creators Update is Windows Mixed Reality, which is the umbrella term Microsoft uses to describe any of their Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) features. Windows has a strong case for VR/AR, since the best experiences are going to require the brute compute power of a PC, and Microsoft was one of the pioneers of AR with HoloLens, but it has to be said, this market is completely in flux right now. VR hasn’t taken off as quickly as many would have hoped, although AR has made some inroads in the smartphone market.

As Microsoft often does, they’ve turned Mixed Reality into a platform, and that has had some immediate benefits. There’s now several VR headsets available from the major PC OEMs, hitting a couple of price points. Most of the headsets have resolutions of 2880x1440, with 90 Hz LCD panels, with the exception of the Samsung HMD Odyssey which is a 2880x1600 AMOLED headset. The headsets all include motion controllers as well.

With the power of a PC behind it, a Windows Mixed Reality headset should be able to offer some great experiences, but the biggest issue is the lack of use cases. Gaming is the obvious one, but VR gaming hasn’t really taken off yet despite the launch of the HTC and Oculus VR headsets.

AR does have some interesting use cases, and unlike VR doesn’t necessarily require a headset. Using the webcam on a device will allow the system to project images on the screen which appear to be in the real world, and this ties into the work done in Windows to support 3D animations and creations over the last couple of updates.

Overall, Windows Mixed Reality still needs to prove itself. The tech is still new, and we’ve yet to see any amazing experiences which necessitate the purchase and use of a head-mounted display. VR is amazing to use, but limited in usefulness, and AR is somewhat in its infancy. The idea of standardizing all of this is a good one, and having a consistent platform should help drive adoption, but the tech is simply too immature in the market to predict if this will be the next big thing in Windows, or just another small feature.

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  • ddrіver - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Oh, and don't get me started on the whole "other big OS makers collect everything about you at all times" or "other big OS makers don't bother to push hardware vendors to support phone hardware more than 2-3 years so you only get 1 or 2 years of major updates". M$ is the real problem here. Reply
  • BurntMyBacon - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    @ddriver: "Oh, and don't get me started on the whole "other big OS makers collect everything about you at all times" or "other big OS makers don't bother to push hardware vendors to support phone hardware more than 2-3 years so you only get 1 or 2 years of major updates"."

    You want me to brush aside grievances from other vendors to make Microsoft look worse by lack of comparison? I REFUSE!!! Phones and tablets may be consumption devices that you are better off leaving anything sensitive far away from, but they've been pushed as computer replacements, they've been developed for as computer replacements, and much of the market uses them as computer replacements. People email on their phones, send sensitive messages on their phones, use their phones to facilitate payments, and even bank on their phones. You can either call out people for doing things the are not educated enough to know they shouldn't do on their phones, or you can call out the vendors for creating and environment designed to cater to these practices while siphoning data in the background. Not everyone can be a security expert and the average consumer has a difficult enough time with malicious entities sending bad emails, texts, and links through their messenger/social app of choice. They shouldn't have to consider companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple as malicious entities.

    @ddriver: "M$ is the real problem here."

    No. If Microsoft fixed everything, it would not affect the issues you stated above with other vendors. Microsoft's actions are problematic for sure and they should not be excused just because vendor X, Y, and Z are worse. However, Microsoft's actions are a symptom of a larger problem created by the anti-privacy features built into iOS and Android devices when smartphones were rising in popularity and perpetuated by the lack of concern over these privacy invading features by the worldwide market. If enough people wholesale dropped these platforms (read: Significant loss of profits) for a less invasive platform despite the extra costs and inconveniences involved, then they would fix some of these problems. Unfortunately, not enough people seem to care.
  • cwolf78 - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Funny how there are a ton of comparison benchmarks including on this very site that completely refute your anecdotal claims. Reply
  • Mo3tasm - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    You can benchmark how you want, but the "perceived" difference can't be benchmarked. Reply
  • mr_tawan - Saturday, November 11, 2017 - link

    perception sometime is truth, some other time is illusion. Reply
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    "slower than Win7 or even Win8.1"
    That depends.....
    Bootup and shutdown speed is markedly faster but doing anything with your data is markedly slower
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    I just again tested Windows 8.1 boot time at 14 seconds (that is normal)
    Win 10 Full Crapper Edition booted to the same PC with the same SSD in 5.3 seconds
  • ddriver - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Who cares about boot up speed, I boot up once every few months. Even a regular user doesn't boot up nowhere nearly enough to make a difference, when it craps over your entire usage. Reply
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    Regular users, sure, but I measure it and care because I have been known to boot several different operating systems from this machine in a single day

    BIOS is set so that there is no primary boot device, which means that I can swap drives (or thumb drives) while the computer is rebooting and it will boot to whatever is currently plugged in instead of fumbling in the BIOS to change the boot order

    Makes testing something new quick and easy, whether its in XP, Linux, Win 7, Win 8 or any Edition of Spyware Platform 10
  • "Bullwinkle J Moose" - Friday, November 10, 2017 - link

    I also keep all the bootable SSD's on an external SATA to ESATA+USB Power cable so when I switch from SSD to thumb drive during a reboot, all I need to do is unplug the USB power to the SSD boot drive and plug in a thumb drive during reboot Reply

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