Microsoft HoloLens 2
Image Courtesy: Microsoft.com

The original Microsoft HoloLens is now more than two years old. So much has happened in the tech industry during this time. HoloLens itself was an out of the world product and it brought a lot of new stuff to the table. This might be the reason why many people are excited about the 2nd generation Microsoft HoloLens. The original HoloLens featured an Intel Cherry Trail SoC containing the CPU and GPU. It wasn’t really powerful but was efficient and got the job done. In addition to this, there is an HPU (Holographic Processing Unit) which was exclusively developed for HoloLens. Sources claim that there may be a huge change to this setup.

HoloLens 2 may be powered by Qualcomm XR1

With the advent of Windows 10 on ARM and the partnership between Qualcomm and Microsoft, people thought that the 2nd generation HoloLens would be powered by the Snapdragon 845 or even the Snapdragon 850 which was designed exclusively for Windows 10 on ARM. But sources claim that HoloLens 2 would rock the recently announced XR1 chip.

Qualcomm XR1 Platform

Qualcomm built a chip specifically for AR and VR headsets. The Snapdragon XR1 denotes the chip for the Extended Reality platform. It was announced at the end of May. It offers a better visual experience. Qualcomm also says that the audio playback too will be of higher quality.

It has support for 4K video at 60 frames per second which is a boon for AR and VR. It also has support for 3D overlays and common graphics APIs like Vulkan, OpenGL & OpenCL. With the new Spectra Image Signal Processor, noise levels will also be kept to a minimum ensuring higher quality images.

The chip provides Hi-Fi audio by utilizing Qualcomm’s technologies such as 3D Audio Suite, aptX, and Aqstic. These technologies will provide the feeling of sound coming from different points in space which is a much welcome feature for VR. There is also support for Always On and Always listening functionalities which enable the user to control and provide instructions via voice.

Popular AR and VR headset companies like Vive, Meta, Pico, and Vuzix have already started working on devices powered by the Snapdragon XR1. Those devices may launch by the end of this year.

We are not sure when HoloLens 2 will be announced. According to some sources, it may launch in January 2019. That would be the time of CES but going by track records, Microsoft had a separate event to showcase HoloLens so that may also be the case with HoloLens 2.