When Google introduced its Google Glass smart glasses four years ago, it turned to Glass-sporting skydivers buzzing a San Francisco convention center, Glass-adorned models at a glitzy fashion show and a Twitter campaign to notify early “Glass Explorers” of their luck in snagging a pair.
This year, when Microsoft showed off an early edition of its HoloLens augmented-reality goggles, it took the opposite approach: targeting the software developers it needs to make the device useful. No stunts. No fashion spreads. No consumer marketing at all.
The discreet launch reflects the daunting hurdles challenging the nascent industry of augmented reality, known in the industry as AR. Such devices overlay images as holograms onto a user’s real-life field of vision, with the goal of improving efficiency at businesses ranging from doctors’ offices to factory floors.