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We found 7 critical HoloLens details that Microsoft hid inside its developer docs

Mark Hachman | March 3, 2016
The resolution, app memory limits, power restrictions, how to remotely control the HoloLens—it's all here.

“Putting content at 2.0m is also advantageous because the two displays are designed to fully overlap at this distance,” Microsoft says. “For images placed off this plane, as they move off the side of holographic frame they will disappear from one display while still being visible on the other.”

In other words, one eye will be able to see the hologram, while the other won’t. And that’s just going to look weird.

4. Memory restrictions will limit games and apps

There’s a reason why the Oculus Rift is connected to a PC: as an external display, it doesn’t have to worry about limitations like memory and storage. But the HoloLens is a standalone, mobile computer, and available storage and memory will be a real concern. 

For one thing, there’s a hard limit to the allocated size of HoloLens apps and games: 900 megabytes, a relatively generous amount of storage if you consider a HoloLens game to be a simple affair. But consider some of Microsoft’s earlier HoloLens demonstrations, where users moved around virtual spaces where weather apps sat alongside calendars, video, and Skype. That could be tricky. (Microsoft could steal a page from Windows Phone and “tombstone” apps that are not in use, but hasn’t indicated that it will do so.)

So yes, there will be some amazing HoloLens games that Microsoft hopes developers will use as examples, but others may be somewhat basic.

It seems possible that Microsoft might be able to get around some of these limitations by streaming data on the fly to the HoloLens, via its integrated 802.11ac connection. But don’t get your hopes up to play Call of Duty on the HoloLens—it ain’t gonna happen. 

5. HoloLens will protect itself by killing your apps

Even if the HoloLens had the graphics horsepower to run an app like a first-person shooter—and let’s be honest, stalking DOOM imps (or your coworkers) in your office building would be incredible—it probably wouldn’t. That is to say, it might run the app for a minute or so, then kill it.  Here’s why.

Unfortunately, Microsoft may have built a 32-bit apps processor into the HoloLens, but it’s also passively cooled. That means if its internal temperature spikes too high, the only recourse it has is to shut down the offending apps. 

Microsoft says its “essential performance targets” call for the HoloLens to spend less than one minute in the orange and red “danger” areas, where it generates too much heat. (See the graphic, below.) And if that happens, the HoloLens protects itself. “If HoloLens exceeds its thermal capabilities, the foreground application will be shut down to allow the device to cool off,” the documentation says.

 

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