Microsoft HoloLens: Features, pricing and release date

Microsoft has made the HoloLens, its new era of holographic computing, available for pre-orders in the UK starting today.

Developers pre-ordering HoloLens today will receive their headsets before the end of November.
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced its intention of taking a break from Windows 10 Mobile and investing its resources towards "more exciting things" like Xbox and HoloLens. “If you wanted to reach a lot of phone customers, Windows Phone isn’t the way to do it. If you want to reach a lot of Windows customers, then this is the largest install base of 9 to 30-inch screens. If you wanted to do new and exciting things, then the Xbox and HoloLens is the place to have a discussion,” said Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft while speaking at Microsoft's BUILD 2016 earlier this year.

Today, Microsoft has launched he HoloLens in the UK, signalling its intention to take on virtual reality counterparts like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard and the just-launched Sony PlayStation VR. Unlike these gadgets, HoloLens isn't exactly a true VR-device. It is Microsoft's new era of holographic computing- mixing digital imaging with real-time contours in our surroundings.

With a thick headband-like appearance, the HoloLens bears a light and adjustable band like most VR headsets. The visor caries a transparent lens containing a CPU, a GPU, a holographic processor and an audio device that lets you hear your holograms speak. Advanced motion and environment sensors cap the device that Microsoft calls "the most advanced holographic computer the world has ever seen." The most user-friendly feature of the HoloLens is that there are no wires involved.

Microsoft will compete with VR players
Microsoft wants to take on the likes of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard and the just-launched Sony PlayStation VR

Launched along with Microsoft's Windows Holographic- an augmented reality experience that mixes our real time visions with hologram effects, the HoloLens let you try your creative skills on real time landscapes- like blowing a hole through a wall, walking on Mars and placing a castle on your table. Alex Kipman, Microsoft's main man behind the HoloLens project, says it is all about flirting with the virtual world and moving beyond it. He added that a collaboration with NASA had a major impact on the HoloLens' performance and that other manufacturers should try to build their holograms to work with it.

Unlike VR headsets, a HoloLens purchase will make more sense to developers and businesses who will build more applications and holograms to work with the headset. "Developers can order up to five devices through the online store. Devices ship immediately to the US and Canada, and start shipping in late November to Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom," said Microsoft.

The development edition of Microsoft HoloLens is priced at £2,719 inclusive of VAT, much costlier than other VR headsets but with more and more developers and businesses getting involved, it will be able to run a large number of apps in the near future, thus gradually increasing it's scope and value for money.

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