Microsoft launches a contest: Give us your great HoloLens app idea, and we'll build it

The winner of the contest, which runs through early January, will be able to interact with Microsoft developers as they turn the idea into an app.

Microsoft wants you to help build the next HoloLens app. At least, that appears to be the goal of a contest the company kicked off Tuesday: Think up the best idea for the augmented-reality device, and Microsoft itself will make it.

Microsoft isn’t asking for the community to actually develop the app, or even contribute code. Instead, a new Microsoft site asks users to contribute an idea before Jan. 11, 2016. The winner will basically receive a front-row seat to the app’s development, contributing to “weekly build reviews, Q&A sessions, and more,” according to the post, and the winning idea will be developed by Microsoft’s designers, artists, and engineers.

So far, Microsoft has said that all apps coded for the HoloLens will be “universal” apps capable of running on Windows 10 phones, tablets, and PCs, and that “all Universal Windows apps can be made to run on Microsoft HoloLens.” The HoloLens uses a special set of Windows Holographic APIs that track inputs like the user’s gaze, something its other hardware platforms don’t do. (I and other reporters were led through a demonstration of how to code for HoloLens earlier this year, complete with a hands-on of the new untethered hardware.)

Why this matters: Microsoft wowed tech enthusiasts with early public demos and hands-on experiences with HoloLens. Now it needs to stay ahead of the chicken-and-egg problem: Keep its fan base asking for the HoloLens, which in turn will spur app development. Microsoft doesn't want another Windows Phone struggle on its hands.

HoloLens activity shifts to software

In May, we saw what appears to be the “final” version of the HoloLens hardware: a detached, mobile headset that casts a holographic representation over a small portion of your field of view. The device Microsoft plans to ship in 2016 will be for developers only.

In another sign of a shift to software for HoloLens, the Israeli news site Ynet reported this week that Microsoft has laid off 30 hardware engineers from the HoloLens team and shuffled 30 more off to another part of the company. Microsoft didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

Microsoft’s ideas page right now looks very similar to its “UserVoice” feedback sites, where users can suggest improvements for most Microsoft products, from Microsoft Windows to Office to the Xbox. As of press time, the very limited feedback has coalesced around ideas like an an augmented piano tutor, a ”real-world” Cortana avatar, and a way of viewing and manipulating 3D charts and graphs in virtual space. Is a Minority Report-style virtual workspace next?

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MicrosoftHoloLens

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?