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Microsoft Windows 10: HoloLens, Surface Hub and Cortana

by Mark Tyson on 21 January 2015, 22:15

Tags: Windows 10

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Microsoft wasn't short of news and announcements tonight at the special Windows 10 event in Redmond. Now we want to focus on three particularly interesting product/services which were detailed; Microsoft HoloLens, Microsoft Surface Hub, and the arrival of Cortana on desktops and tablets.

Microsoft HoloLens

With its HoloLens Microsoft boldly claims that "The era of holographic computing is here". It is bringing computer interaction out from the screen and thus connecting your digital life with your real life. The high-definition holograms produced by Microsoft's HoloLens system can integrate with your physical places, spaces and things to "improve the way you do things every day, and enable you to do things you’ve never done before."

If your mind is boggling at the above explanation Microsoft gives examples such as using the HoloLens system to interact with designs, view things from different angles, even collaboratively and put UI elements around your house on various surfaces. It's rather like interactive augmented reality. Interaction is done with gestures and voice commands while your eyes navigate and explore. Have a look at the video embedded below to see Microsoft HoloLens in action and some of its uses.

Microsoft Surface Hub

The Microsoft Surface Hub is a large interactive screen which is designed to replace the primitive whiteboard or flip chart. The hub is responsive to inking, touch, voice and more thanks to the Windows 10 experience. It will ship with Office, OneNote whiteboard and Skype for business to be a powerful tool straight away.

Microsoft says this new device can advance the way work teams meet together, it is great for; brainstorming, productive and engaging meetings, demonstrating things in large screen apps and helping people succeed at teamwork naturally. As the Surface Hub uses apps such as OneNote whiteboard the notes can stay with you synced to OneNote via OneDrive. People who aren't in the same physical space can join via Skype.

On the hardware side the Microsoft Surface Hub is available in two large touch and ink sensitive sizes; 55-inch and 84-inch. It boasts all the integrated cameras, mics and connections such as wireless projection, HDMI, NFC, Bluetooth, and ports to connect to peripheral devices you might need.


Microsoft has learned a lot through deploying Cortana on the Windows Phone platform. Thanks to the Cortana's alpha and beta refinement over recent months Microsoft thinks that this AI assistant is ready for prime time on its desktops and tablets running Windows 10.

Just like on the mobile platform, Cortana on your PC/tablet can be interacted with using natural language and should help you get everyday mundane tasks done faster than finding apps, clicking around and typing in various dialogue boxes etc. Cortana can also help you with predictied pertinent information, recommendations and so on but it's up to the user how much she encroaches upon your Windows experience thanks to "advanced features to control Cortana for more trustworthiness and transparency".

HEXUS Forums :: 13 Comments

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Cortana can also help you with predictied pertinent information, recommendations and so on but it's up to the user how much she encroaches upon your Windows experience thanks to “advanced features to control Cortana for more trustworthiness and transparency”.
Re: the bit in bold, oh goody. So …. completely disabled is an option, it seems, if it's up to me.

As for Surface Hub, for office co-operative use, maybe. But I don't work in that type of office environment, so I can ignore that.

HoloLens? Wearing a stupid headset/sunglasses round the house? Gimme strength. What next, MS? Virtual chocolate teapot?

Someone at MS has, it seems, a “vision” of the future of computing. Whatever gave them that vision, can I get some? Looks like good stuff. ;)
I love the idea of the surface hub, I can imagine it now, a surface pro user ‘swiping’ an image onto the big screen (they do it in hawaii five-0 so it can't be hard lol)… could never afford it though.

The HoloLens… now that's peaked my interest, not for games, not for general usage but for viewing 3D models. I can see the idea of a client wearing the glasses with the 3D model in view at 1:1 lifesize scale allowing the user to swipe/walk around it etc, even operate functions like opening doors. It would work great with interior design too.

Cortana… yeah it better turn off, it would be an issue for working under nda if it's always monitoring stuff. Still can't see a reason for it on desktop personally.

And just love how they're bringing ‘msn messenger’ back again….with support for other protocols…. wouldn't it have been better to just integrate skype into the os, it wasn't cheap :surprised:
I use Cortana a lot on my Windows Phone, I thought it was a bit of a gimmick at first but after I started playing with it and got bored of playing with the Easter eggs I found that it has some really cool features. I use Cortana to send texts for me, dial numbers and check the weather forecast while I'm driving. This hands free approach has helped me a lot, I don't do it very often, but if I am on my way home from work and a text comes in, getting Cortana to read it to me and then dictating the response means I don't have to stop the car or even look at my phone.

I don't know how well that would translate to a desktop experience though.
Hmmm… I actually quite like the Holonet idea. No practical justification for me on why I would use it at home or at work, however I will be interested in playing with one.

Also is it just me or does the voiceover artist sound like Stephen Amell?
I presume this Holo thing has some form of built in Kinect so that you can also manipulate things with your hands in the virtual world (best hope that the virtual world isn't obscuring something in the real world!).

So far though it's just some pretty marketing animations.

And I'm not going to be walking around my house wearing goggles.