Microsoft finally released the HoloLens 2 today. Just don't expect to find the device at a store near you: the company's still positioning its next-gen augmented reality (AR) headset as a tool for its enterprise customers, rather than a consumer product.
Microsot revealed the HoloLens 2 in February. At the time, it said that it upgraded the headset with a new design, new components and renewed focus on proving AR's value to enterprise customers. It also upped field of view from the original HoloLens from 30 x 17.5 degrees to 43 x 29 degrees. The AR gear runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 mobile compute platform.
Microsoft made it clear at the Build 2019 developer conference in May that it doesn't expect consumers to buy the HoloLens 2. We asked the company's director of mixed reality communications, Greg Sullivan, if Epic Games' announcement of HoloLens 2 support meant we'd see games for the platform soon. His response was clear: "That journey will be measured in years, probably."
Which brings us to the official launch. Microsoft lists three purchase options for the HoloLens 2:
- HoloLens 2: $3,500 per headset
- HoloLens 2 Development Edition: Starts at $99 per month. It includes a $500 in Azure credit and trial of the Unity Pro and PiXYZ Plugin
- HoloLens 2 with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist. Starts at $125 per user per month.
The device isn't in ready supply, however. Microsoft said pre-orders for the HoloLens 2 Development Edition are "coming soon." The HoloLens 2 is "available from select resellers," as is the Dynamics 365 Remote Assist bundle. But it noted that it "is responding to unprecedented demand" and told people who've already pre-ordered to contact their account representatives for updates. Clicking the "Contact a reseller" link under the Dynamics 365 Remote Assist bundle leads to the website for Insight, which says people who fill out its pre-order form will be "placed on [its] priority list," making it seem like it's not actually ready to ship.
MSPowerUser reported that HoloLens 2's launch is limited to the U.S., UK, Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and China.
More information about the HoloLens 2 is available via Microsoft's website, where the vendor once again reiterated that the device is "the future of work," not something consumers are going to be donning any time soon. It seems if you're looking for a consumer-friendly AR headset, you're still stuck with very few options, namely the Lenovo Mirage AR.