Intel, Microsoft Join Forces To Bring Virtual Reality Platform To Windows 10 PCs

Intel said Tuesday is it linking up with Microsoft to bring a virtual reality platform, Windows Holographic, to Windows 10 PCs, as the two companies aim to jointly dominate the VR space.

’This will be groundbreaking for the VR industry,’ said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich during a keynote at the Intel Developer Forum, which kicked off Tuesday in San Francisco. ’We are bringing the Windows Holographic experience to mainstream PCs.’

Intel at the event unveiled Project Alloy, a wireless virtual reality headset that leverages its RealSense 3D camera technology. Project Alloy will be part of Windows Holographic, enabling Windows 10 PC users to utilize head-mounted displays to interact with 3-D applications.

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The Windows Holographic platform will be available for all Windows 10 PCs next year, according to Microsoft – and Intel’s Project Alloy hardware specifications will be open-source at an undisclosed time in the future.

’Intel and Microsoft are collaborating on a specification for mixed-reality-ready PCs and head-mounted displays,’ said Microsoft Windows Chief Terry Myerson, who came on stage during Krzanich’s keynote. ’Our shared goal is to enable our hardware partners to build a broad range of devices for the mainstream consumer and business markets.’

Both Microsoft and Intel outlined similar strategies for virtual reality that combine virtual reality and augmented reality into a single cohesive device, a concept that Intel has coined as ’merged reality.’

Intel, which in the past has leveraged its RealSense technology as part of its virtual reality strategy, Tuesday showed how Project Alloy pushed those limits.

The headset is completely wireless, can track the user’s hands for interacting with virtual reality, and – unlike other headsets such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – doesn’t rely on a PC for processing power.

Microsoft has taken its own approach to virtual reality, with its head-mounted virtual reality display, HoloLens, which is currently still in development.

Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of Moor Insights & Strategy, said the collaboration would help both Intel and Microsoft take the lead in the VR market.

’Microsoft and Intel working together on mixed reality is a very positive sign and historically, more has been accomplished with the two working together than against each other,’ he said. ’I believe Microsoft has taken the industry lead in AR and mixed reality with its own HoloLens, mixed reality operating system and partner ecosystem.’