Published: Mon, February 25, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Microsoft doubles, then triples down on HoloLens

Microsoft doubles, then triples down on HoloLens

"Putting it on should be as simple as putting on your favourite hat", said Alex Kipmen, Microsoft's technical fellow for AI and mixed reality in the Cloud and AI Group, during the company's MWC keynote. The HoloLens 2 should also be more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time as a result, which would be ideal for those working long hours on intense projects, like surgeons and construction workers. The device itself is using a special version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 processor, as Microsoft switches from the Intel-based chip in the original HoloLens to an ARM-based chip for the HoloLens 2.

The device will enable users to sign in via Microsoft Hello, and now features better eye and hand-tracking for further immersion into the HoloLens experience. Microsoft has also doubled the mixed reality field of view, making the holographic overlay less like a floating reticle and more like a (virtual) display that's useful.

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In addition to HoloLens 2, Microsoft also announced Azure Kinect Developer Kit (DK) that combines industry-leading AI camera in a single device for developers.

The Microsoft HoloLens 2 will be available as a standalone edition for $3,500. Engineers could use it to help construct new prototypes of products. While that's a big drop from the $5,000 launch price of the original HoloLens, it also means that Microsoft is still not targeting the regular consumer for the HoloLens 2. Each device will cost $3,500 or is available as part of a $125 a month subscription service, and once again is aimed exclusively at the business market. It's a little pricey as a webcam, but given its other benefits and AI features, it could prove to be very useful for companies wanting to make use of its impressive technology.

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