Microsoft HoloLens Creator Claims Smartphones Are Already Dead

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If you own a smartphone running Windows 10 Mobile, you’re a small fish in a very big pond. The market is overwhelmingly dominated by smartphones running the Android operating system (81.7 percent), with iOS taking a distant second place (17.9 percent) according to Gartner. Smartphones running Microsoft’s mobile operating systems, however, have just a 0.3 percent share of the global market.

How Microsoft handles its dire predicament in the smartphone game is a mystery to us at this point, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella gave Windows 10 Mobile holdouts some read meat yesterday, stating, “When you say ‘Will we make more phones?’, I'm sure we will make more phones, but they will not look like phones that are there today.”

While Nadella seems to be pointing to a new form-factor for smartphones (possibly with a folding display), it would still likely be recognizable as an actual “phone”. Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman, however, sees things differently. Kipman has been instrumental in the development of the HoloLens mixed reality headset and he is already putting smartphones on death row. “The phone is already dead,” said Kipman. “People just haven’t realized.”

Lumia 950 XL

In Kipman’s mind, devices like HoloLens, which will become more compact in the future, have the potential to take over the functionality that we take for granted with smartphones, while allowing greater interaction with our surrounding environments.

So instead of people walking aimlessly down the sidewalk, with their head pointed down and buried in their smartphones, we may see people performing typical smartphone tasks while wearing mixed reality headsets. And if the headsets become as pervasive as smartphones are today, we’ll likely be surrounded by legions of glassholes.

Besides the inevitable privacy concerns of having always-on cameras while we go about our daily lives, it remains to be seen if people can get past the “Google Glass” stigma of actually wearing such a device in public. What say you, HotHardware readers? Would you be willing to give up your smartphone and replace it with an AR headset?