Microsoft’s HoloLens is basically a computer with a transparent display that lets you view digital graphics overlaid on real-world environments. The original HoloLens development kit shipped in 2016, and Micosoft has already started talking about the 2nd-gen model, which will have a next-gen Holographic Processing Unit.

It’ll also probably have a new processor, because as AnandTech notes, Intel is discontinuing the chip used in the original HoloLens.

That means it’s likely that the next version of Microsoft’s mixed reality computer will use a different processor, although it’s unclear at this point if Microsoft will stick with Intel or perhaps go with something different (like an ARM-based chip).

The original HoloLens features an Intel Atom x5-Z8100P processor, and it’s the only major product I’m aware of to use that chip.

Intel has announced (PDF link) it’ll take its final round of orders for the x5-Z8100P chip on September 30th, 2017 and plans to ship those orders by October 30th. So if Microsoft really is the primary customer for these chips and Intel is discontinuing them, there’s a good chance the two companies have coordinated things so that Microsoft won’t need the chips anymore after they become unavailable.

AnandTech speculates that the 2nd-gen HoloLens won’t ship until 2018 or maybe even 2019.

In other words, the company is probably switching to a different chip. That could mean the HoloLens 2 will be powered by an Intel Apollo Lake, Gemini Lake, or maybe Core M chip. But it could also mean Microsoft is switching to an ARM-based processor.

A version of Windows 10 that supports ARM-based processors is on the way, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip expected to be the first to be supported. Since that’s a smartphone-class processor that can balance performance and power consumption, it could be a good choice for a wearable PC like the HoloLens.

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5 replies on “HoloLens 2 will probably get a CPU upgrade (or at least a change)”

  1. I wonder if it’ll still cost $3000 in 2019. What is MS’ goal with the HoloLens? Do they actually plan on selling it as a mass produced consumer product? Right now, it seems like a research project.

  2. At the rate this market is changing its hard to see what is going to be out in 2019. I give MS credit for hanging in on a very tough engineering problem.
    I hope they can solve the issue that makes their solution weak, the outdoor sun and the aesthetics.
    Nipping at their heels are companies like Vuzix with the Blade 3000 and Sony and others are jumping in and may just kill the Holo lense before it gets to V2

    1. No other competitor will come close to Microsoft advanced MR 10 year of R&D. Not even Vuzix and Sony have the expertise! HoloLens v2 by 2019 it will leap ahead of the competition again (5-10 years ahead)

  3. Arm chip would make more sense for this kind of hardware, native hololens apps would be uwp based which supports native arm hardware anyway.

    You can run conventional win32 desktop apps but if the x86 arm emulation holds up then I doubt anyone would notice the difference and it’s not like your playing desktop games on these things either, streaming would be the way to go.

    Plus the simple fact is MS needs more partners making hardware around windows, all the AR/MR competition in enterprise space is Android based.

    1. Microsoft already has partners for its Windows Mixed Reality platform. They are all coming out with their solutions by Q3 & Q4 this year

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