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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  • Hurr Durr - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    Uninstall the calculator. Reply
  • Lunaria - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    The one that used to crash the explorer/windows back in the day? Fun times, couldn't believe it was even possible. Reply
  • mkozakewich - Sunday, November 12, 2017 - link

    "Apple would be brining iTunes..."
    Mmm, musical pickles.

    I've been waiting for F11 support in Edge ever since it came out! Overall, I've liked what they were doing with it, but I could never use it seriously since I always browse full-screen.
    Reply
  • pjcamp - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    I find exactly one irritating thing about Windows 10 -- the inability to pin a live tile to the desktop. Reminders that are hidden in the Start Menu don't help as I then need a reminder to look at the reminders. This has been a major irritant ever since Microsoft killed off gadgets. There are third party add ons but they tend to have a large system impact. Reply
  • acochrane - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    If not for the need of Powerpoint I could do all my work in linux, where updates are still optional, vulnerabilities are easy to mitigate with iptables and source code is editable.

    I even get my minecrafting done in linux.

    Powerpoint is Microsoft's last bastion of windows requirement.

    Can I have Windows xp back?
    Reply
  • navair2 - Monday, November 13, 2017 - link

    Lol...I'll take Xp back, but I've gotten used to 64 bit addressing. Let's take Xp Professional then. Meanwhile, I'm still loving good old stable Win7,and if MS jacks with me, I'll simply slide over to Linux full time. Reply
  • dcaxax - Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - link

    Win10 is still a horrible mess and every update brings more useless than useful features to add to the mess.
    Oh good, we have 3D creation tools for the 0.0001% of people who can use them, but we still have messed up settings, distributed between control panel and the new settings app, we still have 'modern' apps that are nowhere near as as flexible as their Win32 equivalents, they have a whole slew of new bugs that are very hard to resolve (you can no longer fix them with a registry hack) and the update broke of other stuff, like disappearing modern apps, which Microsoft is investigating.
    Good thing they have the largest beta testing program, I shudder to think what we'd get otherwise...

    And on top of this you have the ugliest user interface of any OS ever. Seriously, its worse than iOS, MacOS, Android, even linux looks better. So this update was supposed to bring 'fluent design'? Guess what I can't see it anywhere so that means it made 0% difference.
    I miss my Macbook so much right now....
    Reply
  • Beaver M. - Thursday, November 16, 2017 - link

    Indeed. Its time for an alternative that even can make gamers happy. MS is finished, because they want to force this crap down our throats every 6 months and just mess everything up and ignore teh real problems and wishes. Reply
  • keta - Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - link

    Has anyone tried using the new eye-tracking feature with a Tobii? I'm curious as to how the mouse function works in practice. Reply
  • enealDC - Friday, November 17, 2017 - link

    I'm curious -- if you use the wireless display adapter, are you having trouble with it after upgrade? I cannot connect to my display adapter anymore Reply

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