Competition in hybrid reality is heating up as Magic Leap arrives, as the Microsoft HoloLens’ successor, HoloLens 2, appears to be a long way from release. Now, more rumors saying that Microsoft is planning to unveil its HoloLens 2 headset later this year, but they are now aiming for the end of the second quarter of 2019 due to development schedule issues.
Microsoft has already confirmed that the next HoloLens will have a new, custom Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) that will feature an AI coprocessor to natively and flexibly implement Deep Neural Networks. That means HoloLens 2 will be able to analyze visual data locally, without needing to send any data to the cloud. This should make the HoloLens faster at recognizing objects and environments.
HoloLens 2 software
HoloLens 2 will run a version of Windows 10 built on Windows Core OS. This version of Windows 10 is codenamed Oasis, and is a Mixed Reality-specific experience that runs on HoloLens 2 and likely other Mixed Reality devices in the future. HoloLens 2 will also feature CShell, Microsoft’s new adaptable UI that works across all device types. I’ve written about both Windows Core OS and CShell in extensive detail over the last year, so if you’re unsure of what these are, make sure you hit the following links:
Microsoft HoloLens release date
Microsoft is keeping quiet about when it plans to release the HoloLens to the consumer market, but a prototype developer version is available today. Released on 30 March 2016, this early model has so far only been available to customers in the US and Canada, however Microsoft’s global expansion, announced in October, will open up the programme for those in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France and Germany.
A consumer device is still in the works, with recent rumours suggesting Microsoft will skip its version two HoloLens and fast track development on a third iteration, expected to release in 2019.
In an interview with BBC Click, CEO Satya Nadella has said that the road to HoloLens will be a “five-year journey”, and indicated that the company was prioritising delivering the device to developers and enterprise customers before releasing it to ‘Joe Public’.
Microsoft HoloLens price
Microsoft’s developer version launched at an eye-watering $3,000 per unit, although there is currently no indication what prices it will sell for outside of the US and Canada. A commercial suite is also available, priced at $5,000, offering additional business focused features such as Bitlocker security and an extended warranty.
As of the 1 May, Hololens devices can be leased through JTRS and Econocom in the UK for £260 per month per device over a two year period. This includes the price of delivery, warranty, collection, and recycling at the end of the term.