A new Windows Insider Preview, version 15055, was released on Friday, March 10. Along with the normal collection of bug fixes and new features came a secret addition to the Mixed Reality Portal in the update. Windows Mixed Reality, along with Cortana, can now teach you how to use the platform, and, hopefully, usher in with it some understanding of what mixed reality is.
As you follow along in the video below, you will see me learning how to use the Windows Mixed Reality system. I performed a series of simple tasks designed to show off the basics of control in this virtual environment. Really, it's pretty simple to get up and going, but as you would expect from software that is still not even listed as a part of the release (is this even considered alpha?), I did run into a few issues.
Of course, no one has the hardware that is needed to run the Mixed Reality platform yet. As a result, we are running it in simulation mode, which explains away a few issues like slow performance.
That said, I had the hardest time getting the Xbox One Wireless Controller to work correctly with the system. Sometimes I could get it to work as if I were playing a first-person game, but other times the buttons would not function and the thumb sticks could only be used to move back and forth very slowly. It felt like some mode was switched, but there was no explanation as to what the mode for the gamepad was, or how to switch it back.
There has been a lot of confusion about virtual reality and augmented reality, with people often confusing the functions of the two. Then a new phrase was introduced to the vernacular by Microsoft—mixed reality. This new word originally shared a few points in technology with augmented and virtual reality, but really was its own creation.
Within the last few weeks, Microsoft rebranded their mixed reality platform from Windows Holographic to Windows Mixed Reality, while at the same time expanding the definition of mixed reality to fit into a spectrum of augmented and virtual reality.
The short term effects of this rebranding will likely be more confusing, but it still seems a smart move for the long-term. Instead of people wondering what Windows Holographic has to do mixed reality, the name now just says it all. After the fog of confusion disperses, clarity will follow.
What do you think about Windows Mixed Reality so far? Let us know in the comments.