Microsoft is making the developer version of its Hololens augmented reality headset available to everyone today. You’ll no longer need to apply as a developer to purchase it. What you will need is a Microsoft account, $3,000 (£2,160, AU$4,202), and to live in the US or Canada.
Augmented reality (AR), not to be confused with virtual reality (VR) like with Oculus Rift ($600/ £499 / AU$649), HTC Vive ($799 / £689 / €899), and PlayStation VR ($399 / £349 / AUD$549 / €399), aims to place digital objects in the real world. Pokémon Go gave us a little taste of what’s possible with just our phones but Microsoft’s Hololens is an entirely different experience.
Hololens features specialized AR technologies that map out your environment and allow you to interact with digital objects using gestures. In fact, Microsoft created an entirely new operating system for Hololens called Windows Holographic. The headset also features spatial audio to make the experience more immersive.
Not fully baked yet
Keep in mind that Microsoft is selling you the Developer Edition of the Hololens, and the final consumer version may look and feel dramatically different. You’ll have to deal with all the bugs of an experimental product, like laggy voice controls and jittery visuals.
Although anyone can purchase Hololens today, Microsoft intends to sell the headset to developers and businesses, not consumers. I was able to get through the checkout process but I was required to acknowledge the following:
“I understand HoloLens Development Edition is intended for developers – not consumers – and experiences are in English only. Additionally, I acknowledge there are no refunds available on the HoloLens Development edition.”
Still, it’s a good sign that Microsoft is making Hololens available for everyone to buy, as it means the company is getting closer to a finished product. With competitors like Magic Leap getting close to release too, Hololens can’t come fast enough.
Article continues below