Looking on trends, business news, and development forums, I’m now pretty sure that holographic apps will represent the next wave of technological innovation in just a few years.
No, smartphones will not suddenly die, but more and more people will probably buy and use holographic devices – first for home entertainment or business activities (until it’s beyond a trend) – and eventually to find that they can completely replace smartphones too (once people wearing them won’t get strange looks from other passing people while walking in the street, and as they become lighter and won’t produce red lines on the forehead anymore).
If you haven’t read it in the news, it worths mentioning that Microsoft has recently started to sell HoloLens devices to developers in more countries than before (Europe was eagerly waiting) and they also opened up Windows Holographic platform to third-party hardware developers (like HTC Vive) some time ago.
Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app developers already started thinking about new hologram-enabled apps that they can develop (and later sell) or about adapting their existing apps and add holographic views wherever applicable, some even started production. Moreover, existing UWP apps without holograms already run as 2D views on HoloLens, in the 3D space of the user – which is a great selling point for any Windows platform based holographic device.
I must admit, though, that some companies that intend to produce holographic devices prefer to work outside of the Microsoft’s open platform, and there is a risk that they will have better sales and eventually their apps will become the standard instead of Windows apps. If this will be the case, I can only hope for new Microsoft Xamarin and/or Apache Cordova flavors to unify development for multiple holographic target platforms with a single code base (like the current ones for smartphone app development).
Nevertheless, I think this time the story is different than when iPhones and Android smartphones emerged: now Microsoft has a big advantage as it’s working on the new technology already, at the same time with the competitors (or, in fact, way ahead), and having the platform open and already embraced by some partners means that Windows apps will probably rise again, just like the desktop apps did in the PC era (against those for Mac and Linux devices).
So if you’re a smartphone app developer, even that you are now probably pretty sure that Windows mobile phones can be left out of development scope (unless there will be a really surprising, yet highly rumored, Surface Phone release), my kind advice is to be prepared for the Windows platform to come back in force: invest some time in learning about UWP rather sooner than later, or use Cordova or Xamarin tools to build apps that can be run both on your intended target devices at this time (e.g. smartphones), but also on Windows devices (to be prepared for later, and to also target – why not – Windows PCs now – they are still very many, and in my opinion they can remain preferred tools in many activity fields and possibly live longer than smartphones as a species!)
Anyway, keep in mind that the mobility concept is not strict; it may soon change for many end users: being mobile isn’t going to always be like holding a device with a small screen in your hand, but rather wearing something on the head and run apps in your visual environment at full eye-projected resolution!