Microsoft Makes an FCC Filing, Suggesting HoLolens 2 Launch May be Imminent
Microsoft unveiled its retooled HoloLens, the HoloLens 2, during this year’s Mobile World Congress 2019 which was held in Barcelona. Now it seems the wait may be over and the HoloLens 2 launch may be imminent, at least according to a recent FCC filing.
Documents have surfaced on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) website showing that Microsoft submitted its new augmented reality headset to the FCC for review. A corresponding entry in the FCC database was published yesterday.
U.S. FCC requires that all electronic gadgets with built-in wireless technology comply with its review process. The submissions to the FCC for review are usually the last of steps before the launch of a device. During the MWC2019, Microsoft had announced that the HoloLens 2 will most likely be launched in the second half of this year but that was a very imprecise timeline that could have been anywhere from June to December. With the HoloLens 2 having cleared the FCC filing hurdle, we could just be a few months to launch. The FCC release represents a key milestone on the way to publication. As is usually the case, the product hits the streets in the next few weeks after the publishing of the FCC filing.
In the filing, Microsoft has requested FCC to maintain some of the individual images and documents such as the user manual secret. This secrecy will be valid until January 19, 2020. The HoloLens 2 headset must be available by that date when the lid on privacy will be lifted.
The filing was posted on the FCC website on Friday and includes a collection of documents that outline Microsoft’s registration of a device which will include “a radio transceiver device with IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac MIMO radio supporting 20/40/80Mhz bandwidths, [and] Bluetooth 5.0.” These specifications, as described in the filing, are in congruence with what we already know about the specifications of the HoloLens 2.
Another section of the document contains a diagram (seen below) indicating where the regulatory information on the device will be attached. The document does not specifically mention HoloLens 2 but the shape of the device shown in the diagram is unmistakable and aligns with what we already know about HoloLens 2.
Later on in the collection of documents filed, Microsoft is requesting that information such as the external photos, user’s manual, test setup photos as well as the internal photos be kept confidential:-
“We are requesting the commission to grant short-term confidentiality on the following attachments until January 19, 2020.”
While no release date has been given, we now have the clearest indication yet that the device is arriving soon, perhaps in the next few months but certainly before January 19, 2020.
It is possible that we could see a much earlier publication. Microsoft refers to the second half of 2019 as the publication period.
Apart from the FCC filing, there are also other indications of the imminent release of the HoloLens 2 headset. Microsoft released a new AR application, the Holographic Remoting Player app which has been specifically designed for the HoloLens 2 headset to enable developers to create content and apps from PCs and then stream it to their devices. Developers have to know the glasses they are building apps or content for so the release of a Holographic Remoting Player that is HoloLens 2 specific is a sure sign that we will be seeing the device soon. Microsoft has even gone ahead and published additional information for developers on writing a Holographic REmoting Host app.
Last week also saw Microsoft bring to an end the feature updates for its $3000 mixed reality glasses. The first generation of the HoloLens mixed reality glasses will now have only the quality and security updates. The security updates for the HoloLens 1 will continue for the next 10 years. There won’t be any new functions and we can see a curtailing of support which is within the tech giant’s framework of Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB).
The HoloLens 2 represents a significant improvement over the first generation of the HoloLens mixed reality headset. It offers vast improvements on a number of specifications such as its wider field-of-vision (Even though at 50 degrees, this is still considered narrow) and more precise hand-tracking. But it is an important improvement. The 35 degrees field-of-vision for the HoloLens 1 was just too narrow and only added to the workload of AR projects.
Like its predecessor, the HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset is targeting the enterprise market.