Microsoft ships a major update to its HoloLens platform

Microsoft ships a major update to its HoloLens platform

Microsoft's HoloLens is demonstrated on stage during Microsoft Build in San Francisco on March 30, 2016.

Credit: Microsoft/IDGNS

The HoloLens update is the first big update since the developer edition was released at Build, and it packs a lot

Just as the month was about to end, Microsoft announced the release of the May 2016 Update for HoloLens, the first major software update to the virtual reality (VR) headset it's developing since it offered the developer edition.

Considering it's been just two months since the Developer Kit and first wave of devices went out at the Build 2016 conference, Microsoft sure has added quite a bit to this update. The company also announced it was shipping headsets to a second wave of developer applicants.

The full list of additions and changes to the May 2016 Update for HoloLens is rather lengthy, so we've boiled it down for you:

Multitasking: You can now run up to three applications at the same time. It sounds limited compared to a PC, but previously it could run only one app.

Bluetooth support: You can now connect a normal Bluetooth mouse to your HoloLens. Keyboard support is improved, and the HoloLens clicker has been fine-tuned to enable resizing and moving of holograms.

New voice commands: Microsoft has added some new voice commands to control your views of the holograms. You can tell an image “face me,” and it will turn in your direction. And you can use commands such as "Bigger" or "Smaller" to resize a hologram. Cortana also supports moving apps around the screen.

Edge improvements: Microsoft Edge now supports many requested features, including multiple instances of the browser, a custom HoloLens New Tab page, Tab Peek, Open in New Windows, plus various power and performance improvements.

Easier development: You can now browse, upload and download files through the Windows Device Portal. You can access the Documents folder, Pictures folder and the local storage for any app you side-loaded or deployed through Visual Studio.

Imaging improvements: Holograms can be resized or rotated with hand gestures.

Photos improvements: The Photos app now supports pinning pictures without any borders or chrome. It also now streams videos from OneDrive instead of having to download the entire video before it can be played.

Microsoft added its Groove Music app to HoloLens.

Some of the new features can be seen in this short video clip:

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