Redmond is expected to announce that the developer version of HoloLens is available for pre-order starting February 29th, with the device launching on March 30th.
The excellent piece of hardware has the tech community plenty excited, and now the device is available for pre-order, starting today, February 29th.
It is worth mentioning that the announcement was made via a Reddit post which has since been taken down, but basically it seems relatively official that HoloLens pre-orders will open later today.
Microsoft is launching the dev kit version for developers to get to grips with the hardware and create (hopefully) lots of compelling content.
After the pre-order period, Redmond will start shipping HoloLens units to those who purchased units on March 30th.
HoloLens is arguably the most advanced virtual/augmented reality device so far, and from the numerous demos Microsoft has offered, the device simply has huge potential. As powerful and dynamic as the hardware is, developers need to get behind HoloLens if the device is going to become a success.
Virtual and augmented reality are the next entertainment frontiers, but without immersive and abundant content, any device is doomed. Microsoft is quick out of the gates with the HoloLens, and the device has received plenty of early praise, so with that in mind we expect developer support for the product to be very strong.
That support will come despite the price, because the HoloLens dev kit is certainly not affordable at $3,000, but it does land with some pre-installed programs to give developers a starting point. Those embedded features are:
HoloStudio – This suite lets developers learn numerous commands such as the HoloLens' navigation features of Gaze, Gesture, and Voice. HoloStudio was highlighted at the start of HoloLens way back at Microsoft's 2015 Build conference and also allows the creation of 3D resources.
Skype – Microsoft's all conquering messaging service is a special HoloLens version that “allows people running Skype on any Windows device to interact with the holographic world.”
HoloTour – Probably the most exciting of the features included, HoloTour immerses the user into famous locations such as Rome, giving a 360 panoramic view that makes the user think they are in the environment. This includes being able to walk around and interact.
Whether that's enough to justify a $3,000 price tag we are not sure, and that is definitely a problem Microsoft has to weigh before launching a consumer version of the device. On that front, Microsoft says a consumer HoloLens will not launch until there is enough content to support the device, so it's time for developers to get moving.