HoloLens preorders are now open and the augmented reality headset will start shipping by March 30, even as Microsoft has announced the developer?s kit is out.
Orders for the $3000 HoloLens will start shipping March 30 for United States and Canada, Microsoft said in its official blogspot. The Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition is meant for developers and commercial customers and will initially be sold on an invite-only basis, the company said. It essentially means the prospective HoloLens developers will effectively be auditioning for a chance to work with the technology.
Microsoft didn?t reveal the number of headsets it plans to offer, or the qualifications it’s looking for in a developer other than saying that all types of developers will be considered. Software developers will need to be part of the Windows Insider program, and there will be a limit of two devices per applicant. Commercial customers will be evaluated on a case-to-case basis.
Microsoft had first unveiled the HoloLens a year ago at a preview event for the Windows 10 operating system. The device allows wearers to see digital images projected into the real world. Those images can even be pinned to real objects, so users could, for instance, fix the family calendar on a refrigerator and even watch movies on a wall, no TV necessary. With gestures and voice commands, users can create and manipulate the digital holograms.
Microsoft?s HoloLens runs the Windows 10 on the headset, using a custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU) and an Intel 32 bit processor says Verge. The device is ?fully untethered and self-contained? which means it doesn?t require wired connections to a computer or a handset for operating.
There are a variety of sensors inside the HoloLens, including an inertial measurement unit, an ambient light sensor, and four environment understanding cameras. They are combined with a depth sensing camera to allow HoloLens to map spaces. Microsoft also has a 2-megapixel HD camera to capture videos and photos along with four microphones inside the headset that are used to pick up voice commands from users.
HoloLens hardware specifications include 2GB of RAM, 64GB of flash storage, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. The Bluetooth support allows HoloLens owners to make use of a new Clicker accessory, included in the box, instead of the air tap gestures to navigate around. The entire HoloLens headset weighs no more than 579 grams, and the battery is expected to last for around two or three hours of active use. HoloLens is fully functional when it’s charged over Micro USB, and the device will also have a standby time of two weeks.
Microsoft?s move comes on the heels of Facebook?s Oculus VR headset that is also expected to be released by the end of March. The virtual reality headset by Oculus priced at $699 is the first major VR-based device launching this year. Oculus had also partnered with Samsung to release Gear VR headset at $99 which uses a Samsung Galaxy smartphone as its display and processor. It will be followed by HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR that is expected to be released early next year.
HoloLens is, however, different in the aspect that it is an augmented reality headset compared to the virtual reality headsets released by Oculus. Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match, while virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one. The advanced AR technology allows the information in the surrounding real world of the user to become interactive and digitally manipulable. Information about the environment and its objects is overlaid in the real world.