We might not have holographic displays we can swipe around the room with gestures just yet, but Drop is taking us a step closer to the dream. Drop is a 360 degree web browser that you’ll be able to control in real time while dragging tabs around the room, and browsing in a fully immersive 3D environment. It’s absolutely exciting, and takes us one step closer to the dream of a fully mixed reality (MR) experience.
Speaking of mixed reality, Drop hope to make the software available to Windows Mixed Reality users before the end of 2018, meaning you’ll be able to see the web browser windows and tabs surrounding you while you can also interact with the real world; perfect for multitasking.
But that’s not all, Drop confirmed to Venture Beat that the software will make it’s way to augmented reality (AR) platforms, and in time, will hopefully replace smartphones and tablets entirely. Bold ambitions, but it’s exactly the kind of vision a burgeoning startups need.
“We want to create that first piece of hardware that replaces the smartphone and becomes as ubiquitous as the smartphone,” said Russell Ladson, Drop Software’s CEO. “But we know that for us, that’s a 7-10 year vision type of thing. We just felt that it made sense to start here today with the early adopters, the early enthusiasts, and start understanding the space from there.”
If you’ve got a HTC Vive head-mounted display you can start using the early-access version of Drop right now to get a good idea of what experiencing what 360 degree web browsing is like. The Windows Mixed Reality version is also sure to be popular with online professionals.
Though, don’t get too excited about swooshing tabs around with your arms. Sadly, Ladson reports that they found it’s not the best browsing experience; “We built an initial version of Drop using hand gesture technology and a keyboard, and we found that—the idea of using hand gestures in the environment makes sense when it’s a one-off action, but it can’t be the primary part of the interface, because of arm fatigue.”
For more on fancy or productive ways to get working and browsing the web, make sure to stay on VRFocus where we have all the latest info on mixed reality and more.