Windows is opening up its Windows Holographic platform to hardware manufacturers who want to build augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) devices based on its technology. The company hopes to encourage more companies to build PCs, displays and accessories that can interact with each other through Windows Holographic.

Windows Holographic forms the beating heart of Microsoft's HoloLens headset, which began shipping to developers in March. The platform, which comes baked into Windows 10, allows hardware manufacturers to build what Microsoft dubs "mixed reality" devices. Microsoft defines these as peripherals capable of combining AR and VR with objects in the physical world, and then bring in things like holograms on top of that.

While we have seen several companies release virtual reality headsets in recent months, Microsoft remains one of the few companies to have brought a so-called mixed reality headset to the market. By inviting more hardware partners into its ecosystem, Microsoft wants not only to increase the number of such devices on the market but also break down the silos that currently separate AR/VR hardware vendors.

Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo are amongst the companies confirmed as Microsoft's new Windows Holographic hardware partners. Vive manufacturer HTC has also been also named as a partner and was seen at Computex in Taipei running its VR headset in tandem with a Microsoft HoloLens, reports the Verge.

Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices group, said: "The market for virtual reality devices is expected to be 80 million devices per year by 2020. However, many of today's devices and experiences do not work with each other, provide different user interfaces, interaction models, input methods, peripherals, and content. And most virtual reality experiences can't mix real people, objects, and environments into the virtual world, making creation and collaboration difficult.

"For our partners, this creates new business opportunities, unlocking mixed reality experiences across devices. For developers, Windows Holographic apps can be written today with confidence that they will run on the broadest set of devices."