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Microsoft Invites HoloLens Devs To Purchase Kits, Shipments Begin On March 30

Starting today, developers who showed interest in getting in on the ground floor of holographic computing will be invited to purchase Microsoft HoloLens developer kits and start creating software for the company’s upcoming computing platform.

Microsoft first introduced HoloLens a little over a year ago. The company has shown several previews of the hardware, and it previously announced that developer kits would cost an eye-watering $3000, but the hardware wasn’t really available to developers. The HoloLens project was limited to select partners, such as Volvo Cars, Autodesk Fusion 360and NASA, but starting today, developers with interest in HoloLens will begin receiving invites from Microsoft to purchase HoloLens Developer Edition kits.

Developers that order HoloLens developer kits will receive an untethered headset that houses a computer inside. Microsoft said that HoloLens “enables holographic computing natively with no markers, no external cameras, no wires, no phone required, and no connection to a PC needed.”

Microsoft said the HoloLens headset is powered by a custom built chip called a Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU). The company said the HPU handles data coming from “multiple environment understanding sensors” to interpret your gestures, gaze and voice inputs. The HoloLens also has built-in cameras that Microsoft said enable you to record video and take images of holograms over the real world.

HoloLens runs Windows 10 natively and supports Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform apps. The company said that any UWP app can be made work on Windows Holographic, and that monetization is supported the same way as it is on other platforms. Microsoft said that developers who purchase a HoloLens Developer Edition will have access to “hundreds of UWP apps,” including Microsoft Office apps, OneDrive and Maps, as well as TV, movies and music. The company said there is also a showcase of holographic content meant to show off the capabilities of HoloLens.

Microsoft will be shipping the first orders starting on March 30. If you are a developer interested in working with HoloLens, Microsoft encourages you to sign up here if you haven’t already done so.

Microsoft said you don’t have to wait for the hardware to arrive to start working on your project. The company said there are guides and tutorials available at dev.windows.com/holographic, and when the HoloLens kits start to ship, Microsoft will release a HoloLens emulator that will let developers test holographic apps without the need for the headset.

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  • d_kuhn
    Wave 4... so I'll get mine midyear or maybe a bit later.
    Reply
  • DeadlyDays
    I look forward to when this matures and they decided to start pushing it towards normal consumers(at consumer price levels), though I may get it before then :)
    Reply
  • hoofhearted
    $3K for a dev kit! This is alot more than the competion (Oculus and Vive) charged. Does this mean the retail will be expensive too? Seems like Microsoft is doing the same thing with this as the did with the XBone -- Charge more than the competition (PS4) but market it as a media entertainment system rather than just a gaming system.
    Reply
  • DeadlyDays
    This is a traditional devkit, not some startup offering people development models. They DON'T want normal consumers to have one of these. If they did, they would get the wrong impression on how the consumer version would work and that would develop bad press for them. They don't trust normal consumers, and they shouldn't. The price not only helps them pay for the kits, which are undoubtedly this expensive to manufacture since they are being produced in small batches, but to also keep it out of the hands of people who do not intend to develop on it, and thus not get a ton of people buying it and misusing the dev kit and then creating bad press on it. I'd charge more honestly, because AR is something I want hardcore, and I really don't want some bad hype ruining it coming out en masse sooner rather than later. The main designer of this system at Microsoft has said outright, they don't have something that would appeal to normal consumers yet, and so they don't want to release to them. Once they have something they believe might work, I'm sure they'll release it and do so at a price point that is reasonable for normal consumers(because it wouldn't be viable if it wasn't affordable/comfortable to use)
    Reply
  • RedJaron
    17585761 said:
    $3K for a dev kit! This is alot more than the competion (Oculus and Vive) charged
    This is also a more complex product in a lot of ways. In the simplest terms, the Rift is a split display that tracks head movement. It needs something else to do the processing and feed it the pictures. The HoloLens generates its own images and tracks your environment on its own.
    Reply
  • memadmax
    "HoloLens runs Windows 10 natively"

    I stopped right there and changed the webpage being viewed...

    >_>
    Reply
  • vaughn2k
    Don't let your eye pop on the price. The reason it is expensive, is because it is produced in small quantities, for developers of course. Wait till it goes mass production, and the price will go down eventually.
    Reply
  • Bloob
    $3K for a dev kit! This is alot more than the competion (Oculus and Vive) charged. Does this mean the retail will be expensive too? Seems like Microsoft is doing the same thing with this as the did with the XBone -- Charge more than the competition (PS4) but market it as a media entertainment system rather than just a gaming system.

    It's not a consumer device, I believe the developer versions of consoles are about the same price.
    Reply
  • d_kuhn
    17585761 said:
    $3K for a dev kit! This is alot more than the competion (Oculus and Vive) charged. Does this mean the retail will be expensive too? Seems like Microsoft is doing the same thing with this as the did with the XBone -- Charge more than the competition (PS4) but market it as a media entertainment system rather than just a gaming system.

    It's not really competing with the Rift or Vive. It's not a "VR kit" but rather an "Augmented Reality" kit. I'm engaged for the potential business applications for the tool. VR headsets could also potentially have business apps... but they're not really targeting that space. This kit is being marketed to the traditional Microsoft Developers channel as opposed to the VR kits that were modeled more like "open source" projects.
    Reply
  • ammaross
    I can't stress enough to all those "Vive" and "Rift" people, this IS NOT VR! This isn't meant to be some screen-in-the-face VR system. This is more like a HUD that responds to movement and gestures (without requiring wands and controllers). It's also a complete computer in the unit and not a phone-tether device. Uninformed masses....
    Reply