In the last days, a few news have been published which make augmented reality technology
Magic Leap – Overhyped Startup?
Magic Leap is a very hyped AR startup which is valued at $4.5 billion. A recent blog post by its founder Tony Abovitz says that Magic Leap “is fighting hard each day to make a new computing platform, one that steps closer to making technology feel like it is part of your everyday life”. While this may sound great the reality seems to look different. Insiders are reporting that they are working on one single prototype which is nonfunctioning at the moment. A patent drawing of Magic Leap is still showing that you need a belt pack to run the AR glasses.
In addition, Business Insider is reporting that the real prototype is “pretty bulky” and even “larger than the patent drawing”. If you are dreaming of a near future of tiny, light, and sexy AR glasses you will be disappointed. On February 11th Business Insider published a pretty huge augmented reality buildup by MagicLeap:
This looks everything else than sexy. But the CEO of Magic Leap responded one day later that this not the actual product but an R&D instrument. Whatever it actually is, I imagine the AR future differently. By looking at this leaked photo and their patent drawings I would say that an AR future is still 5-15 years ahead of us.
Microsoft Hololens is right now the only relatively affordable AR headset on the market. While Magic Leap is making big promises how they will change the world they still don’t have a single device nor prototype on the market. Still, the recent leaks will let you doubt their promises. Furthermore, you will not find any other company which is offering an AR headset on the retail market except for Microsoft. From this viewpoint, Microsoft has a huge lead in the AR space.
The current Hololens is selling for $3000 in a few selected countries. The price is still relatively expensive and the tech is not yet perfect. That is why Microsoft announced to invest heavily in a Version 3 of their Hololens. They hope that this will secure their lead in the AR industry.
According to an online tech blog, this Hololens V3 will not arrive until 2019. That is two years to go until we see a cheaper and better AR solution of Microsoft.
Some may find this as bad news that the next version of the Hololens will not arrive by 2019. But you might also see it as a strategic move. Microsoft is investing and recruiting heavily for their Hololens project and by focussing on building advanced AR glasses they have the chance to bring forward the technology.
All that we learn out of recent stories is that display-free AR is still at least 2-5 years in the future. A lot of time for young startups to disrupt Microsoft and MagicLeap entirely.