HP’s latest Windows 10 Mobile headset has been a spec list enthusiast's dream as new features, software, and hardware capabilities continue to surface leading up to its release in the next few weeks. When the HP Elite x3 was initially announced, there were some who found themselves simply happy that the device bumped up the amount of RAM supporting Windows 10 Mobile and there were those who were pleased to see fingerprint scanning support.
Granted, the HP Elite x3 is a pushing against the ceiling of smartphone pricing models, the inclusion of both iris and fingerprint biometric authentication hardware and custom Windows x86 application software all encased in a premium dust and waterproof device implies customers are getting what they pay for.
Well, it seems the HP Elite x3’s value potential may only increase in the coming months as HP vice president and general manager of mobility Michael Park throws Augmented Reality support into the devices conversation. Thanks to the custom software the enables users of the HP Elite x3 to virtualize a Windows 10 desktop set up from the device, Park believes that it’s possible for the phone to run Universal Windows apps made for HoloLens AR headset straight from the phone.
Logistically speaking, the HP Elite x3 has the horsepower to conceivably power the experience and with HP’s built-in Workstation software that enables x86 application virtualization, Park’s claims are not unfounded. However, with the Elite x3 primarily designed as a smartphone, the biggest obstacle to the company’s ambitious journey into AR via the device is how to replicate the visual experience. The concept of handset-based AR isn’t a new one, nor is it a novel undertaking. With Pokemon Go and Google’s previous attempt with location driven AR gameplay in Ingress, HP has some real-world data to start its implementation.
Google is also in the midst of working with Lenovo on producing an AR-related experience with the company’s Phab 2 Pro phone powered by Google’s pet augmented reality project Tango. With that in mind, Park explains to PCWorld, "It could be a head-based unit or Arm-based unit combined with the [handset] unit -- there are all kinds of scenarios.”
Sure, HP’s pitch for augmented reality experiences powered by the HP Elite x3 is much less flushed out than its Windows 10 cloud based virtualization software, but the very fact that a six-inch smartphone has the guts and software to run desktop-grade experiences only underscores Microsoft’s new mobile pitch.
Smartphones are evolving beyond the whack-a-mole app experience and early days of gadget hardware lust for many to coalesce around a single device that can enable software experiences that include machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality. Perhaps the HP Elite x3 will be among the smartphones that help lead next phase of smartphone computing.