Guess not everything Intel touches turns to gold! We might be approaching the end of the line for the first-generation Microsoft HoloLens hardware, as there are reports that Intel is discontinuing the Atom.
The Atom processor that powers the mixed reality, that is.
This is a semi-custom SoC (system-on-chip) that Intel had developed, but word on the street is that the chip maker will take its last orders for the chip in September, and ship the final units a month later. In other words, October.
“Intel asks its customers to place their final orders on the Atom x5-Z8100P SoC (belonging to the Cherry Trail family) by September 30 and says that the final shipments will be made on October 30. Given the fact that Intel seems to have only one customer using the microprocessor, the short amount of time between the announcement of the product discontinuance and the actual EOL was probably negotiated before. Moreover, since we are talking about a semi-custom chip, Microsoft was probably the initiator of the EOL, which indicates that the company is on track with its next-gen HoloLens.”
Seeing as Microsoft was one of the last companies to use the chip, it stands to reason that it was the one that negotiated its end-of-life with Intel.
So, what’s next, then, you ask?
For starters, there is a fair chance that a new HoloLens model will be released in the coming quarters.
Microsoft is quite keen on taking things slow here, with Alex Kipman, the force behind HoloLens, recently stating that the company was in no rush to release a cheaper mass market version of the mixed reality set.
The $3,000 HoloLens Development Edition is currently available in nine markets right now, with Redmond saying that it is working on expanding international availability.
The software titan did, however, announce last month that the second-generation HoloLens will feature a custom-designed AI coprocessor for implementing Deep Neural Networks. And it certainly appears that it will most definitely make use of all new chips and whatnot inside alongside it.
You may have to wait until 2019 to see it, though.