If you've ever dreamed of reading your e-mails or managing your calendar in a virtual environment, your day has finally come. Microsoft announced yesterday that it has rolled out Outlook e-mail and its Calendar app to its HoloLens holographic computing platform. Both apps are available at no cost through the Windows Store.
HoloLens will allow users to interact with Calendar and Outlook using an augmented reality (AR) or mixed reality interface. That means they will be able to view their schedules as floating holographic images layered over digital content in their real worlds, or pin holographic images of e-mails they're writing to fixed spots on their office walls.
Putting Your Virtual Calendar on the Wall
“With Outlook Mail on HoloLens, you can now place your inbox on your office wall to stay on top of e-mails while simultaneously interacting with other digital content in your real world,” the company wrote in a blog post. “You can also quickly see what’s coming up next in your day with your new wall calendar.”
Since both Outlook Mail and Calendar apps are built on the Universal Windows Platform, Microsoft said it was relatively easy to develop holographic versions of the applications similar to the ones used on Windows 10 PCs, tablets and phones.
Outlook and Calendar join several other Microsoft apps now available in preview versions on the development version of the HoloLens platform, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.
Betting Heavy on Enterprise AR
Yesterday’s announcement is the latest in a series of moves by Redmond to expand its focus on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality applications. At Computex in Taipei on Wednesday, Microsoft announced that it will be opening HoloLens up to all device developers to help the platform achieve critical mass.
Microsoft said that it expects the market for augmented or mixed reality devices to reach as high as 80 million devices per year by the end of the decade. While most of the focus on AR and VR development has been on entertainment applications, Microsoft is hoping that enterprises will also see value in the technology as a way to increase productivity.
“Imagine wearing a VR device and seeing your physical hands as you manipulate an object, working on the scanned 3D image of a real object, or bringing in a holographic representation of another person into your virtual world so you can collaborate,” Terry Myerson, executive vice president, Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, said in a blog post Wednesday. "In this world, devices can spatially map your environment wherever you are; manipulating digital content is as easy and natural as picking up a box or sitting at a table; and you can easily teleport into your next meeting or travel together as a team.”
Read more on: Microsoft
, Calendar App
, Mobile Apps
, Virtual Reality
, Augmented Reality
, Mobile Devices
, Enterprise IT
, Top Tech News