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Microsoft HoloLens 2: $3,500 headset means business

Microsoft is continuing its focus on business and enterprise with the HoloLens 2

Microsoft has given us the first glimpse its follow up mixed reality headset, the HoloLens 2. The company says it wants to change “the way work gets done”, and plans on doing this with a $3,500 device that improves on the comfort and depth of field of its predecessor. 

Compared to the first HoloLens, Microsoft says the HoloLens 2 has a lighter design, smarter AI elements and an improved display with wider viewing angles. Unlike its predecessor, it looks like the HoloLens 2 will be rolling out to the UK right away alongside the US, China, Japan and a select few countries in Europe. Pre-orders are already underway, while the actual release date will take place at some point “this year”.

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Microsoft HoloLens 2: What you need to know

One of the drawbacks of the original HoloLens was its limited field of vision. The digital overlay of images across the real-world, which is at the heart of “mixed reality”, was limited to a small portion of what you could see. The company says it has “more than doubled” the HoloLens’ field of vision, while maintaining the same 47 pixels per degree of sight; something it says is akin to jumping from 720p to 2K for each eye. 

Pre-order now from Microsoft 

If you were expecting Microsoft to change target with the HoloLens 2, you’ll be disappointed. Much like the first iteration, this headset is squarely aimed at the enterprise market. During its keynote, the company said it was already working with a number of large industry partners to develop software for the new HoloLens, including Saab, Honeywell and Airbus. App developer Spatial also showed off a collaborative workspace, where multiple people can share ideas via virtual sticky notes.  

The on-stage demonstration included a creative team for a toy company collaborating in a virtual conference room, along with engineers and medical staff using the headset to help fix motorbikes and bodies respectively. There’s even a special hard hat version for professionals operating in construction sites and other dangerous environments.

The HoloLens 2 doesn’t come cheap, though. Companies will have to pay the princely sum of $3,500 (UK price TBC) for each headset, or as part of a subscription that comes with the remote workplace software Dynamics 365 Remote Assist for $125 per month. UK prices have yet to be confirmed, but Microsoft said the headset will be sold in the UK, along with the US, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand. 

For a full rundown of the design changes and new AI features in the HoloLens 2, it’s worth reading Microsoft’s MWC 2019 blog, which also goes into more depth about the individual Dynamic 365 apps and developer kits.

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