Microsoft is making universal apps a major focus: "We're talking about one platform, a single app, a single binary that can run across all of these devices." That includes even its futuristic, hologram-generating HoloLens headset — Windows 10 apps will simply run within HoloLens.
At its Build annual developers conference, Microsoft showed off Windows 10 apps running on HoloLens. There are apps running on walls. A hologram dog on the floor. There are holograms everywhere. This looks like a personal space you can customize. Literally a beach with weather information sitting on the coffee table. There's even a holographic Start Menu!
The HoloLens, first unveiled in January ("less than 100 days ago," notes HoloLens designer Alex Kipman), is Microsoft's immersive headset. It's not quite virtual reality like the Oculus Rift — you still see the world around you — but it isn't quite augmented reality, either. The conceit is that the platform maps onto the real world (playing virtual Minecraft on a coffee table is one of many examples). Today, the company is showing off more business-focused cases for using the holographic platform like architecture and teaching med students.
"Everything you've seen here today is a universal app," said Kipman. "With holograms you'll have a new canvas. Your apps can come to life."
At multiple points, Kipman emphasized the self-contained nature of HoloLens. No wires, no external cameras, no phones, no connection a PC required. Microsoft is partnering with NASA, Unity, Legendary, Autodesk, Walt Disney Company, and lots more for HoloLens.
Yes, that is a real robot base and a hologram robot body with hologram robot menus. Possibilities abound, to be sure — but we're still seeing the ideas in a very controlled environment. HoloLens isn't just an experiment, though; last we heard, Microsoft was planning to release the Windows Holographic device "within the Windows 10 timeframe."
Check out our Microsoft Build 2015 Live Blog for the latest updates.