Microsoft's HoloLens is still not available to consumers and is still billed as a developmental product. However, enterprises have been increasingly embracing the headset. For the mixed reality concept Microsoft is driving to succeed, it will need major backing. With that in mind, score one for HoloLens. Bloomberg reports the U.S. Army has contracted Redmond to supply Microsoft HoloLens devices.
This is a sizeable agreement for Microsoft. Sure, HoloLens has not yet transformed how we consume entertainment, but it is making a splash for business use. The Army plans to leverage its power and has tabbed Microsoft in a $480 million contract.
Such an outlay suggests the Army will buy thousands of Microsoft HoloLens devices. According to the report, the headsets will be used in both training and combat scenarios. So, how many HoloLens devices does $480 million buy you? Well, if initial tests go well, the U.S. Army will buy 100,000 units from Microsoft.
A Microsoft spokesperson stated:
“Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions. This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area.”
These won't be normal HoloLens devices as Microsoft will be adding some military-grade flourishes. For example, the HoloLens devices will include night vision and thermal sensing technology. Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft will have to provide 2,500 units over the next two years.
Microsoft will probably view this contract as a major step for HoloLens. Not least because the company beat 25 other providers to supply devices, including long-time military partners like Lockheed Martin.