Nobody can deny the innovative nature of Microsoft's HoloLens. The ability to fully blend and interact with real world objects is something enthusiasts have been seeking for years. However, the headset has some issues. Namely, it's field of view and its $3000 price tag.
This can only be a good thing for fans, with pricing starting as low as $299 and scaling up to suit different demands. They'll also be running the latest version of Windows 10:
“These new head-mounted displays will be the first consumer offerings utilizing the Mixed Reality capabilities of Windows 10 Creators Update,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.
Offering a HoloLens-style device for 10% of its price might seem too good to be true, and there is one major limitation. They won't be wireless. There's also no fixed release date, so it could be a little while yet.
The tether means that customers will also need a decent PC to use the headsets. However, according to Microsoft, a supporting desktop won't cost you more than $500. That's more than some of the headsets, but a lot of people will have the hardware already.
Speaking of hardware, none of the headsets will be using Microsoft's. It's the holographic shell the company is making available, not the internal components. The quality of the headsets will largely depend on what's inside.
You probably won't get the same experience of the HoloLens headset, then, but for such a discount it's hard to argue. This will also put significant pressure on other AR manufacturers like Magic Leap to up its game.
Whatever the case, it's good to see Microsoft branching its software out to other OEMs. This will give the Redmond giant plenty time to perfect its headset without the risk of Windows 10 AR dying out. An increased audience will bring in more developers, too, which can only be a good thing.