Microsoft HoloLens Preorders Open In The US Today For $3000

Microsoft HoloLens Preorders Open Today for $US3,000 ($4,210)

It's been well over a year Microsoft first teased HoloLens, its new mixed reality headset that layers holograms over the real world. Starting today, American and Canadian developers can finally preorder the futuristic augmented reality goggles. They will cost $US3000 ($4210) and ship on March 30 in the US. To reiterate, this is a developer edition, not intended for consumers. Devs who have applied online and been approved will begin receiving invitations to purchase today Hololens today.

In conjunction with today's preorder release, Microsoft is dishing new details about the hardware, as well as information about its internally built demo applications. Here's what we know:

On the hardware front, we get a nicely detailed list of specifications, including some new parameters we've never heard of before — this makes sense since, you know, nobody's really ever made hardware quite like this. In particular, these optical specifications are of interest:

  • Automatic pupillary distance calibration
  • Holographic Resolution: 2.3M total light points
  • Holographic Density: >2.5k radiants (light points per radian)

To anyone that's been following the HoloLens release closely, the hardware specifications are kind of a big deal. We no have a full accounting of all the sensors that ship with the headset, which play a big part in what make Hololens unique. In addition to obvious stuff like inertial tracking via accelerometers and gyroscopes, HoloLens will use four "environment understanding" cameras, a depth camera, and four microphones.

In terms of inputs, it will support voice and gesture controls. There will be gaze tracking so that you can use your eyeballs to select different holographic objects. HoloLens will also be able to understand sound around you as another source of information. The 550g headset will last two to three hours on a single charge.

In sum, Microsoft has developed some substantial hardware, and though our earlier experiences with the hardware haven't been bug free, Microsoft's already innovating ahead of other futuristic virtual reality headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift in that HoloLens is completely untethered — there are no wires tying you to a computer.

What can you actually do with HoloLens? At launch, there will be seven HoloLens demo apps available in the Windows Store, including some games. Before you get to excited about games, though, Microsoft begged us to make it very clear that all of the apps available at launch are strictly for demonstration purposes. They're meant to give developers as sense of what's possible with HoloLens, and aren't really designed to wow the pants off consumers.

The launch apps cover a wide swath of possible uses for HoloLens. For starters. there's a special HoloLens version of Skype, which turns the person on the other end of your call into a Hologram. HoloTour renders a remote location into the room you're in so that you can experience it in 360 — this sounds a bit like some of the 360 tours that are available for virtual reality headsets. There are a pair of content creator-oriented applications, called HoloStudio and Actiongram.

And the games! First up is RoboRaid, which is the final version of the sweet game Microsoft showed off last spring. It's a first person shooter in which the goal is to defend your home against invaders which burst through the walls. Young Conker is a HoloLens-spin on the traditional platformer. Rather than playing a pre-rendered game, Young Conker tailors game levels to the space where you're in. According to Microsoft, even starting at a different point in a room will make the level a little different. Finally, Fragments is a crime drama that plays out in mixed reality in the space in front of you, allowing you to search for clues and follow storylines in your house.

For now, HoloLens remains a developer product, but it's clear from the sophisticated hardware and smart demo apps that the company is serious about making holograms a part of our everyday lives. There are clearly still going to be bugs to work out, but we've got quite the HoloLens future to look forward to.

[Microsoft|Microsoft]


Comments

    $4210, I think I'll sit out on this one... I'll wait till the hype goes down to $210, yep.

    There is a also a countdown on Meta's website, they're also an Augmented Reality headset creator.

    At the moment it's sitting on 1 day 15 hours - https://www.metavision.com/. I'm not sure what the countdown is for exactly, it might be that preorders open up on that date, who knows?

    When you put this into perspective, the price is quite reasonable. A PS4 Dev Kit costs US$2500 so three grand for this seems OK. The hardware specs are also quite impressive, roughly like an updated version of my Thinkpad 8 tablet with a load of extra goodies tacked on.

    Battery life is quoted at around three hours but Microsoft points out that the device remains fully functional while charging, so they obviously expect users to have it plugged in whenever possible.

    Lol @ everyone yesterday bitching about HTC's $1000 vr headset!

    Last edited 01/03/16 12:14 pm

    im sure there's a market for it but with VR much cheaper i'm not sure how this will ever pickup for general consumers.

      You must have no imagination whatsoever if you can't think of a hundred things that would make a device like HoloLens worth buying. Think of every, single thing you do on your smartphone plus all the things you use your tablet for and most of the things you use a laptop or desktop computer for. HoloLens can do them all, hands-free. Want to know the time? Don't flick your wrist up to activate the display on your smartwatch, just look up and to the right.

        You don't need much imagination to realize at that price point there is almost NO market.

        I think Augmented Reality is the future (in like 25 years), but I don't think it's even close to being ready for real world use just yet. And in my opinion Microsoft can't design a particularly good, user friendly UI (in terms of combining touch etc.) for desktop computers, or even game peripherals (ie. kinect) let alone combining the two.

        Don't get me wrong, I am pumped for VR and have been for a long time. I'm looking forward to using VR headsets for desktop use, movies, games, etc., but Hololens doesn't make a lot of sense for the real world really.

        When AR can fit in a pair of sunnies, then it's going to be popular. Until then it's only a luxury item with no real benefit over what you currently have
        (your phone/tablet/TV/PC) or cheaper devices that do most of what it does (ie Rift/Vive)

        Most homes don't have nice big blank walls or spaces that would be suited to either.

        Screen sounds like it's fairly decent - fairly solid not as see through as you'd think it would be, apparently. Nice pixel density, but FOV looks kinda sucky. not sure what the refresh/latency/persistence... but I don't think it's going to be where they need to be.

        Tracking/latency?
        My biggest concern really, the Kinect was horrid but Microsoft with their infinite wisdom thought it was fine.

        Half the stuff Microsoft demoed is just marketing fluff though and since it costs so much it will NEVER be common enough for developers to create tools/games/etc. that will work well with it.

        Gaming ? yeah cool, some awesome possibilities... but besides a few 'showcase' examples that MS will pay a few devs to build, it won't be financially viable for most devs to even consider - a lot of devs don't even bother with Kinect, let alone this if it doesn't sell.

        Movies? Cool enough, but better than Vive/Rift ? mostly the cordless factor.
        If you are watching the movie with someone else, then TV is really the only social option.

        Professional use for 3D and CAD? no.
        As a 3D Artist I can tell you it is a cool idea and could even be great for demonstrating to clients, but just no. That demo video with the motorbike is 100% marketing BS - that model was NOT made using the hololens and the manipulation you see is all PRE-SETUP.

        Teaching stuff, like the medical demo they have?
        Yeah cool - but again, can be done on iPads n stuff anyway.

        everyday stuff?
        Check the weather; my phone automatically pops up with weather warnings if it's expected to rain, etc. so why would I want to put on and boot up my hololens for that?
        Check the time - phone is a button to light up the screen, why put on the hololens.

        And really at this point in time it wouldn't take much for something like Samsung Gear VR to basically be a hololens; though it would be a bit more like looking through binoculars - since the real world would pass through the camera, then the screens would show the real world (as the camera sees) + the AR over it. Oh and it'd be one quarter of the cost (or cheaper with a cheaper phone) and the battery would last longer too! :P

        Anyway I could go on, but I've had enough. :P

        Last edited 02/03/16 12:24 am

    Will check back at the end of the decade.

      you are pretty much on the money here. Thought this would be the beginning of the VR/AR revolution. However, it's more likely that these companies are going to continue using the top paid consumers to beta test their hardware for at least another 5 to 10 years...affordable hardware wont be available till mid next decade at the rate they are charging people. Really sad about this.

        Where do you get that from? Microsoft have had working versions of this for a year and it is still a long way from being in consumer's hands. And as it is basically just a Windows 10 PC, there is not really a lot that needs testing.

        How is four grand not affordable? I paid around that for my laptop and my car is insured for ten times as much. A lot of people blow that much on a holiday every year. I can certainly see more value in that than in a $1200 phone.

          Woh woh woh, check your privilege mate. How is $4,000 not affordable?
          First off, what kind of job are you doing that allows you to blow 4k on a non-essential as though you were buying a big mac from maccas? Because, seriously, I want that job XD

          Secondly, how did we start talking about phones, no one is even comparing the holo lens to a phone. Even if they were, a phone's cost can be spread out, delayed, due to contracts and plans. Moreover, the majority of consumers do not spend $1,200 on a phone, they usually get the next version, or the version after that, down.

          Based on the cost of living in Australia at the moment, and using Hobart as my sample as that's where I live, we can see that an estimated monthly LIVING expense is $1,152. If a person has a family of four, that jumps up to $4,085 (http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/city_result.jsp?country=Australia&city=Hobart).

          Being that in Tasmania, the average annual wage is around $65,759 (http://www.livingin-australia.com/salaries-australia/). Or $1897 minus tax per fortnight, this would leave a Single person unable to afford a $4k headset unless they saved up for quite a bit. A family person wouldn't even have that luxury as they would be in debt unless working two jobs!

          So, to answer your question "How is $4,000 not affordable?" The average person barely makes enough money to LIVE month to month, much less afford a piece of hardware such as this.

          This is about the average consumer who must make a decision about where their money will go, to living, or to superfluous gimmicky hardware such as this, which may or may not actually work as advertised. Is the average person who Microsoft are targeting with this latest batch..nope. Could this potentially help the average person in their day to day life, possibly, depends on whether the specs match the hype.

          As for my statement about "beta testing" I was being snarky. Essentially, the hardware is being targeted at elitist technophiles who can actually afford such an absurd price tag. Rather than at the average developer who could likely build upon this technology and provide real world usage.

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