Financial analysts are known to dig deep into a company in order to predict its future performance. Every now and then, nuggets are dug up that provide some perspective on new and emerging technologies that might otherwise go unnoticed. One example is Himax Technologies, maker of components for Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality device.
Tom Sepenzis, an analyst with Northland Capital Markets, is of the opinion that a new HoloLens version will make its way to the market later in 2017, according to Barrons. As he puts it, while the augmented reality market looks good in the long term, in the short term, quarter-to-quarter fluctuations in sales are likely. Accordingly, Mr. Sepenzis writes “…we believe the stock will not see any major catalysts until the second half of CY17 when the second major AR device is expected to be delivered.”
That “second major AR device” is the HoloLens. Presumably.
The analyst also noted that HoloLens is primarily a developer product at this point, and so its widespread appeal is limited. That’s an accurate assessment, given that Microsoft prices the HoloLens development kit at $3,000. While Microsoft has made the HoloLens Development Edition available for anyone to purchase, the augmented reality headset remains a developer and large enterprise product for the foreseeable future at such a hefty price, and with so few real-world applications.
Sepenzis provides no specific information on how he arrived at the conclusion that a new HoloLens version will arrive in the second half of 2017. It’s entirely possible that the analyst is merely making an educated guess — after all, Microsoft is unlikely to rest on its laurels. The current version of HoloLens was announced at Microsoft’s Build 2015 event and has been available to developers since March 2016, and so it’s reasonable to assume that a new version will be introduced at some point in the relatively near future.
HoloLens is an important part of Microsoft’s Windows 10 strategy, incorporating augmented reality into the Universal Windows Platform that makes it relatively easy to write one application that can run on multiple device types. Already, HoloLens is being used by companies like Lowes and Volvo to incorporate the emerging technology into its retail sales environments, just one of its many corporate uses. Microsoft would be remiss if it were to let HoloLens languish, and so the release of a new HoloLens version two years after the introduction of the first model is likely a safe prediction.