It was back in December 2018 that we exclusively reported that Microsoft was going to use Snapdragon 850 chipset in its HoloLens 2 augmented reality headset. Naturally, we assumed that this meant that it would have cellular connectivity, since the Snapdragon 850 has an integrated cellular modem. This was incorrect, as it actually shipped as a Wi-Fi only PC.
But that’s changing, as Microsoft’s MR director Greg Sullivan explained to CNET. HoloLens 2 users are going to be able to connect to 4G LTE or even 5G via a USB dongle. This is coming as part of Windows Holographic version 2004, and you’ll be able to tether any phone or mobile hot spot via USB.
Obviously, there are plenty of other new features coming in the Windows Holographic May 2020 Update. Windows Autopilot is on the way – added in private preview earlier this month -, so devices in your organization can be set up right away with Azure AD and so on. There’s also FIDO Security Key support, letting you easily sign in without having to type a password.
One thing that you probably thought was already there if you don’t use HoloLens 2 is dark mode. Yes, you can turn it on to get a dark theme in apps like Settings, the Microsoft Store, Mail & Calendar, File Explorer, and more.
Hand-tracking was a big feature with HoloLens 2, and there are more improvements coming for it with version 2004. Here are the key improvements:
- Pointing pose stability: The system will now resist bending the index finger when it becomes occluded by the palm. This improves accuracy when pushing buttons, typing, scrolling content, and more!
- Reduced accidental AirTaps: We’ve improved detection of the AirTap gesture. Now there are fewer accidental activations in several common cases, such as dropping your hands to your side.
- User switch reliability: The system is now faster and more reliable at updating the hand size when sharing a device back and forth.
- Reduced hand stealing: We’ve improved handling of cases where there are more than 2 hands in view of the sensors. If multiple people are working close together, there is now a much lower chance that the tracked hand will jump from the user to the hand of someone else in the scene.
- System reliability: Fixed an issue that would cause hand tracking to stop working for a period if the device is under high load.
Finally, there are new system voice commands, which work in any app that you’re using, and there are fewer Cortana commands. You can no longer use Cortana to adjust the volume or restart the device, since those are now system voice commands.
There are, of course, also some improvements and fixes:
- The update introduces an active display calibration system. This improves the stability and alignment of holograms, which helps them stay in place when moving your head side-to-side.
- Fixed a bug where Wi-Fi streaming to HoloLens gets disrupted periodically. If an application indicates that it needs low latency streaming this fix is can be accomplished by calling this function.
- Fixed an issue where the device could hang during streaming in research mode.
- Fixed bug where in some cases the right user would not be displayed on sign-in screen when resuming session.
- Fixed an issue where users could not export MDM logs through settings.
- Fixed an issue where the accuracy of eye tracking immediately following out-of-box-setup could be lower than specification.
- Fixed an issue where eye tracking subsystem would fail to initialize and/or perform calibration under certain conditions.
- Fixed an issue where eye calibration would be prompted for an already calibrated user.
- Fixed an issue where a driver would crash during eye calibration.
- Fixed an issue where repeated power button presses can cause a 60 second system time-out and shell crash.
- Improved stability for depth buffers.
- Added ‘Share’ button in Feedback Hub so users can more easily share feedback.
- Fixed a bug where RoboRaid did not install correctly.
According to the documentation for Windows Holographic version 2004, it should be rolling out now.