The hype surrounding the emerging mixed reality technology might not live to expectations. Upcoming mixed reality headsets designed by companies such as Magic Leap and Microsoft might disappoint customers.
Upcoming Mixed Reality Gadgets
ZDNet reports that Microsoft considers skipping its planned HoloLens version 2 augmented-reality glasses and is focusing instead on developing version 3, that will be released in 2019. The company believes that mixed reality is the future of computing, and the future and present of mixed reality is its HoloLens gadget. Microsoft began last summer to shift HoloLens' focus more on mixed reality than augmented reality.
Despite Microsoft's great hopes, it appears that mixed reality is not having a smooth ride. The headset-making world seems to be somehow in trouble. Otherwise, Microsoft won't be canceling the launch of HoloLens V2. In the same challenging situation seems to be Magic Leap that keeps saying that the arrival of its mixed reality gadget is imminent but we are still in need to see some solid proofs.
According to Forbes, when it comes to Microsoft's HoloLens and mixed reality in general, it appears that the technology is still nowhere near ready for conquering the markets and the consumers' hearts. Actually, the technology in itself isn't the real problem, but rather the PR is. The technology will eventually come to mature, but any PR strategy is a choice and it appears that companies involved in developing mixed reality gadgets are making bad choices.
As mentioned before, Microsoft is not alone in setting high expectations in the hype mixed reality PR campaign. Magic Leap recently embarrassed itself with a cheating PR campaign when it was revealed that its promotional videos had been manipulated to look better than the product. And what's worse, the videos were labeled with disclaimers about no manipulation being made.
Mixed Reality Tech Still Need To Convince Customers
These examples show that expectations for mixed reality products fall short of the reality. Currently, mixed reality offers small screens within visors and requires clunky headsets. This frustrates users, especially after the PR campaigns that would like to make us believe that the technology provides a utopia of potential.
While it is enough that its users simply install and fire up an app for the augmented reality to work, mixed reality often makes users work for it. Setting up it's still pretty complicated and the great expectations come to fall when a user tries to use the unit. Of course, hype can often be a necessary part of most emerging technologies, but the veracity of the claims made by mixed reality promotional materials need to be cooled off in order to not disappoint.
This situation is reflecting in the rate of convincing early adopters to come on board. Outside the Developer community, HoloLens is still not available to buy. And now, with the cancellation of V2, no hopes are left that the technology would spread to the larger category of consumers, until at least 2019.
This delay is an opportunity for competitor technologies such as the more well-established augmented reality. The move could prove a costly one for Microsoft in terms of delayed revenue, as well as research and design expenditure. Until users are presented with some solid options, mixed reality gadgets will continue to fall short of the hype.