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Asus may develop its own version of Microsoft’s HoloLens

Microsoft’s HoloLens was the company’s first step towards developing augmented reality hardware. The wearable device projects 3D images in front of your eyes and layers the images over what you see in the real world. Now, it seems Asus is mulling whether to market its own version of HoloLens. Asus CEO Jonney Shih and Microsoft’s vice president of Windows and devices Terry Myerson affirmed to CNET they’re in talks about working on a HoloLens project together, though Asus has said that it is “still evaluating” the potential of HoloLens.

If true, Asus will be the first third-party company to build a version of HoloLens. The Microsoft HoloLens is currently restricted to select audiences and cannot be purchased at retail yet — although reports suggest that Microsoft might unveil a version of HoloLens forsoftware developers at a price tag of $3,000 by the end of this year. As is often the case, the agenda behind releasing it only to software developers is to inspire them to create applications for the HoloLens platform in advance, so that the general public will have a reason to buy in when it becomes widely available.

As the world’s sixth largest PC maker, Asus might come up with a lower-cost variant of the HoloLens. The Taiwan-based manufacturer is well known for its affordable range of products, and if the deal with Microsoft is sealed, then the company will be able to focus on improving and reducing the cost of the hardware while Microsoft handles any software-related shortcomings. If all goes well, then in the future we might see larger audiences going for the HoloLens and incorporating it into their daily routines. Microsoft is hopeful that in taking a cue from Asus, other manufacturers may also chime in with their own versions of HoloLens.

All being said, this won’t be a cakewalk for Asus, as it will be expected to adhere to certain guidelines laid down by Microsoft. It might involve a waiting period of up to five years before making the technology accessible to the general public. Microsoft once mentioned HoloLens as a “five-year journey,” so we assume that Asus might have to wait until the completion of the said period. Myerson mentioned that the HoloLens is a preview of what Microsoft has in store for future, just like the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.

“Everything we’re doing in hardware, we do with the mind of how do we grow the Windows ecosystem,” Myerson said. “That is why we’re investing in creating a category. It’s ultimately up to Shih whether Asus makes its own version of HoloLens.”

Microsoft has yet to reveal whether it might start selling its own less-expensive version of the HoloLens. Early testers praised the original for its version of Minecraft, with many referring to it as a “killer app” for the platform.

Ever since it unveiled the HoloLens, Microsoft has been working hard to develop the technology further. For example, it’s focusing on creating 3D images that are better able to interact with the outside ecosystem. The company also showed a glimpse of such images with its Project X-ray at a recently held hardware event. In an earlier report, it was revealed that Microsoft has collaborated with NASA to test HoloLens on astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS). The company has partnered with AutoDesk to create applications for the device. Moreover, as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has said, the company is also planning to try out the technology in fields as diverse as healthcare and construction.

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