Microsoft Hosts Contest To Solicit Your HoloLens App Ideas
If you send it, they will build it. Microsoft wants users of its HoloLens augmented reality device to help its engineers build the headset’s next app. On a newly launched Web site, the company this week challenged people to contribute app ideas for the HoloLens, which lets users see virtual elements in the real world.
Users have until Jan. 11, 2016 to submit ideas for HoloLens apps. Microsoft will choose the three best ideas and put them up to final vote on Twitter, then it will build the winning idea as an application for the futuristic device. The winner will get to be a close-up spectator in the process Microsoft’s designers, artists and engineers build the app, contributing to weekly build reviews, Q&A sessions, and more.
We reached out to Sean Whitmore, research analyst with Greenlight VR, who told us that for an unproven technology such as augmented reality, soliciting non-technical ideas could be an ideal way for Microsoft to market its new product and build brand awareness.
"This type of consumer engagement could foster not only more awareness of the tech -- and inevitable consumer release -- but also allow those with no technical expertise to contribute and therefore bring fresher ideas to the table," Whitmore said.
Microsoft’s main criterion for the winning app idea is that it’s able to run on smartphones, tablets, PCs and other devices running the Windows 10 operating system. Even interested parties who don’t have app ideas to submit can inspect and comment on the ideas of others via Microsoft’s Web site, and vote for their favorites. During the idea submission phase, Microsoft will be blogging about the most feasible ideas and how they’re best situated to take advantage of the capabilities of HoloLens.
Entrants must be at least 13 years old, and those between 13 and 18 must have parental consent. All entrants must have Microsoft accounts.
Microsoft said it’s running the contest to show developers what's possible on Microsoft HoloLens, and to help them learn how to develop for it. "We want to share our knowledge with the community, and understand what information and support you will need when you start developing your own ideas," Microsoft said in a blog post.
Jeremy Joachim, Whitmore’s fellow research analyst at Greenlight VR, told us the contest may or may not result in the most compelling piece of content for HoloLens, but it will most likely fulfill its goal of keeping people interested by dazzling them with technology.
"This is a good way from a marketing perspective for HoloLens to keep in touch with what users want to see without making them go through the process of developing an app themselves," said Joachim. "And there isn't really a better way to assess what the people want to see than by crowdsourcing."
The HoloLens uses a special set of Windows Holographic APIs that track such input stimuli as the user’s gaze. The Windows 10-powered HoloLens prototype, will be released as a developer kit for $3,000, is set to ship during the first quarter of next year.