It's now been nearly three and a half years since Microsoft first showed off its HoloLens augmented reality platform. At Build 2016, the $3,000 Development Kit began shipping, leaving many wondering when a cheaper consumer device might be available.
We learned later on that Microsoft killed off version 2.0, opting instead to go straight to version 3. Today, Thurrott.com's Brad Sams provided some more details on the device, including that it should begin shipping in the first quarter of 2019.
Codenamed 'Sydney', the new HoloLens will be improved in all of the ways that matter. It will be lighter and more comfortable, and the displays will be "significantly improved", which likely means a larger field of view, something that's definitely needed with HoloLens.
According to the report, the device will also cost much less. The one that's available hasn't dropped in price by a penny, and you can still buy it for the price of $3,000. Unfortunately for those that just want to buy it to play some AR games, this is unreasonable.
Microsoft is certainly investing heavily in its virtual and augmented reality efforts, with Windows Mixed Reality head-mounted displays and HoloLens. It's a tough race, with competitors working just as hard. Apple and Google are doing ARKit and ARCore, respectively, which are smartphone-based platforms; however, Microsoft has ended its smartphone efforts, so it can't compete in that more mainstream arena.
The company is seeing increasing competition from hardware makers as well. While Lenovo makes its own Windows Mixed Reality headset, the Explorer, it also makes a standalone VR headset that's based on Google's Daydream platform, the Mirage Solo. And don't forget about Lenovo's Star Wars: Jedi Challenges game, which includes a smartphone-powered AR headset.
Indeed, Microsoft will have to come out of the gate strong with the next HoloLens.