How Microsoft HoloLens Stands Apart From Oculus Rift, Morpheus

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-01-23
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - How Microsoft HoloLens Stands Apart From Oculus Rift, Morpheus
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    How Microsoft HoloLens Stands Apart From Oculus Rift, Morpheus

    by Don Reisinger
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    2 - Oculus Rift Is About Virtual Gaming and Virtual Worlds
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    Oculus Rift Is About Virtual Gaming and Virtual Worlds

    The central theme in the Oculus Rift is to create a virtual world for users. The device, which is currently under development, uses 360-degree custom head tracking and integrates with video games to create a virtual gaming experience. Oculus is working with popular franchise Unreal to ensure games built on its game engine will work with the device. Oculus owner Facebook says that the technology could also be ideal for creating virtual worlds, though little is known about the social network's plans right now.
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    3 - Project Morpheus Is Being Designed to Serve Sony's Gaming Business
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    Project Morpheus Is Being Designed to Serve Sony's Gaming Business

    Although Oculus Rift makes gaming a core component in its sales pitch, it's not the only thing the device can do. Project Morpheus, on the other hand, is designed solely with gamers in mind. In fact, Sony's virtual reality headset is being developed by the company's gaming division and relies on its gaming products to work. That stands in stark contrast to Microsoft's HoloLens, which can work with games but will likely be utilized for other app types.
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    4 - There Is No Windows Integration
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    There Is No Windows Integration

    A major distinction between HoloLens and the other headsets is that Microsoft's technology is designed specifically to run Windows 10. Neither Project Morpheus nor Oculus VR have a full version of Windows built-in. Microsoft said at its special event on Jan. 21 that Windows 10 is central to its device's uniqueness, and judging by the market it will be competing in, that appears to be the case.
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    5 - Morpheus Needs Other Sony Accessories
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    Morpheus Needs Other Sony Accessories

    To get the most out of Project Morpheus, gamers will need to have a host of other Sony accessories on-hand. According to Sony, Morpheus will work with the PlayStation Camera to create the VR experience. In addition, the company's PlayStation Move controller can act as a sword and integrate with Morpheus. It's also important to point out that Morpheus requires PlayStation 4 in order to work.
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    6 - Oculus Comes With a Different Design
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    Oculus Comes With a Different Design

    When evaluating the different designs of the devices in this roundup, one will quickly discover that Microsoft has gone a completely different route with HoloLens. Microsoft's technology looks like a high-end pair of sunglasses, while Oculus Rift requires users to wear a big rectangular box in front of their eyes. Project Morpheus bridges the gap between the two designs, but Microsoft's HoloLens appears to be the sleekest.
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    7 - The Holographic Experience Is Important to Note
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    The Holographic Experience Is Important to Note

    Microsoft seems especially concerned with making a clear distinction between HoloLens and products like Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus. Microsoft says that its technology delivers a holographic effect and not virtual reality, per se. The company argues that virtual reality is a "computer-generated reality, or virtual world." Its device, however, delivers a "mixed reality that lets you enjoy your digital life while staying more connected to the world around you." In other words, the holographic effect sits within the world around the user, rather than forcing the user into a completely computer-generated world.
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    8 - Microsoft Sees Value in the Enterprise
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    Microsoft Sees Value in the Enterprise

    Microsoft said at its event on Jan. 21 that it can see many ways in which HoloLens could be used in the corporate world and provide a variety of software experiences to enterprise users. Microsoft announced that NASA will soon start using HoloLens by employing holograms of Mars Rover images. On its site, the company also says that its technology will integrate with its other platforms, like Skype, to allow for corporate collaboration. Oculus Rift and Morpheus, on the other hand, are currently designed with consumers in mind.
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    9 - Morpheus Will Rely on a Sony Ecosystem
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    Morpheus Will Rely on a Sony Ecosystem

    As discussed, Sony's Project Morpheus has some barriers to entry that consumers will need to consider before they make the step to buy the device. Project Morpheus requires Sony products and accessories. The device will also need software that runs atop the PlayStation platform. In other words, Morpheus will rely on the Sony ecosystem. One could argue that HoloLens needs the Microsoft ecosystem, but since it's running Windows 10, far more developers should be able to get into the mix.
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    10 - Software Will Determine Success
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    Software Will Determine Success

    Speaking of developers, software will prove to be a crucial step in making any of these products a success. Microsoft arguably has a leg up over the others, considering HoloLens relies on Windows 10 to work. Microsoft says that companies that develop apps for Windows 10 will be able to easily make them work with HoloLens, giving the hardware a strong chance to get all kinds of applications running in no time.
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    11 - The Coolness Factor Is There
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    The Coolness Factor Is There

    Watching movies over the years, technology lovers have seen the future: playing with digital apps while sitting in the real world. Microsoft's HoloLens provides that opportunity. While Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift are neat in their own right, they present experiences that are similar to those already offered in older virtual reality headsets that have come and gone. HoloLens attempts to be something else entirely. And if Microsoft can execute on what is an undoubtedly impressive vision, it could just win out on a major key to success: "coolness."
 

Microsoft on Jan. 21 announced HoloLens, a holographic headset that's designed to run the upcoming Windows 10 operating system and enable users to view and manipulate virtual objects in a 3D environment. While Microsoft's announcement came as a surprise to many, it also highlighted just how feasible it is that virtual reality and holographs will move beyond the realm of gaming and film making to become an important scientific and business technology. With its $2 billion acquisition last year of Oculus VR, Facebook showed that it is willing to bet big on the future of virtual reality technology. Also in 2014, Sony introduced Project Morpheus, a code name for a virtual reality headset that will work with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Samsung is even planning to compete in VR with help from Oculus. Now Microsoft has joined the fray. But while Microsoft's headset could easily be viewed as a competitor to products like Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, it also has distinct features and design goals that set it apart from these products. This eWEEK slide show takes a look at what Microsoft hopes to achieve with HoloLens compared with Facebook's Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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