Microsoft has unveiled the second generation of its augmented reality headset, HoloLens 2, a lighter, more capable, and slightly cheaper version of the original that it released three years ago.
But perhaps most significantly, Microsoft on Sunday also promised that it was committed to openness in the “core principles” of its mixed reality efforts. Specifically, this means that Microsoft’s hardware would work with the software of other companies and that other developers could create their own app stores for the HoloLens—stores where Microsoft presumably wouldn’t get a cut of every sale.
“The walls that make our world feel divided make our world feel broken,” Alex Kipman, Microsoft’s technical fellow for artificial intelligence and mixed reality who helped invent HoloLens, said at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. “As members of the mixed reality community, we want the future to be open—open to your creativity, open to your ideas, open to your vision. Now imagine what we could accomplish as a mixed-reality community when barriers are removed and we transition from walled gardens to a communal garden.”