You can finally pre-order Microsoft’s insane HoloLens, but the price is a doozy

hololens development edition pre order ship date microsoft preorders 2
Developers can now pre-order the Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition from the company for a cool $3,000. The first development kits will ship on March 30.

The availability announcement arrives as a surprise just one day after HTC opened pre-orders for the Vive. Unlike HTC and Oculus, Microsoft didn’t leak its pre-order availability date early.

Also unlike Oculus, and to a lesser extent HTC, Microsoft says it will be a bit picky about who receives units. This does not appear to be a first-come, first-served situation. The company wants to make sure the development kit gets into the hands of serious developers, and will be giving priority to established outfits.

That makes sense, given the price. At $3,000, the HoloLens is taking a different approach than the Rift, which priced its early kits affordably due to its crowd-funded nature and (somewhat) open approach to development. In a way, early Rift development kits were more like preview editions. The first HoloLens, on the other hand, is very much meant to be a learning tool for companies interested in coding software for it.

The HoloLens itself hasn’t changed a great deal from the versions we’ve recently used. It wraps around the user’s head like a halo, can operate wirelessly, and projects an augmented reality interface within a limited area of the user’s forward view. The HoloLens is packed full of sensors including a two-megapixel video camera, four “environment understanding” cameras, one depth-of-field camera, four microphones, an ambient light sensor, and a “mixed reality capture” system that will let users share holographic recordings with others. Data captured from these sensors is processed by what Microsoft calls a Holographic Processing Unit – a 32-bit Intel chip designed specifically to deal with these numerous inputs.

There are, however, a few specifications that are new, or official for the first time. Battery life is the most important. Microsoft says the HoloLens Development Edition can withstand two to three hours of active use, or last up to two weeks on standby. It is also functional when charging, giving users the option to use the HoloLens in a wired mode. The weight has been quoted at 579 grams, or 1.27 pounds. That makes it a bit heavier than the Oculus Rift, which has not had its final weight official confirmed, but has been quoted as “less than 380 grams.”

Users will need a Windows 10 PC that can run Visual Studio 2015 and Unity 5.4 to use the HoloLens.

Aside from the HoloLens itself, developers will also receive a carrying case, a charger, nose pads, overhead strap, a microfiber cloth (to clean the lens) and the “clicker,” a small Bluetooth device that can be used to click on interface elements, as you would a mouse.

In addition to the hardware itself, Microsoft has announced a number of free holographic experiences the company hopes will guide developers looking to develop for the HoloLens. These include HoloStudio, a 3D modeling tool that works at real-world scale; HoloTour, a 360-degree panoramic experience that will let users visit far-off locales like Rome and Machu Picchu; and Actiongram, a mixed-reality video-capture utility.

There’s also a trio of games. RoboRaid (previously called Project X-Ray) is an augmented-reality action game that uses the player’s environment as a backdrop. Fragments is a mixed-reality mystery game that can turn your living room into a crime scene. And Young Conker – yes, that Conker – is an augmented-reality platformer. Yep, you read that right.

Oh, and there’s Skype.

All of the titles will be available through the Windows 10 Store.

If you’re interested, you can head over to Microsoft’s sign-up website to apply for your development kit. This site has been live for a couple months, though previously there was no information about when the HoloLens might be available. Of course, the term “apply” rather than “order” remains notable.

Emerging Tech

Global Good wants to rid the world of deadly diseases with lasers and A.I.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates, aims to eradicate diseases that kill children in developing nations. It tackles difficult problems with high-tech prototypes.
Emerging Tech

How can digital art created on obsolete platforms be preserved?

As the lines between art and technology continue to blur, digital art experiences become more commonplace. But these developments are raising an important question for art conservationists: How should digital artworks be preserved?

The HoloLens 2 will be announced at MWC. Here's what we know about it so far

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.

File Transfer Protocol explained: What FTP is and what it does

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol," and it's used to transfer files online. Most internet users don't need it, but web developers use it constantly. Here's what FTP is, how it works, and how you can get started using it.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Are you one of the billions who have watched these super-popular YouTube videos?

Viral videos can quickly garner millions upon millions of views, but even they fall well behind the view counts on the most watched YouTube videos ever. Those have been watched billions of times.

Marriott asking guests for data to see if they were victims of the Starwood hack

Marriott has created an online form to help you find out if your data was stolen in the massive Starwood hack that came to light toward the end of 2018. But take note, it requires you to submit a bunch of personal details.

Windows updates shouldn't cause problems, but if they do, here's how to fix them

Windows update not working? It's a more common problem than you might think. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot it and in this guide we'll break them down for you step by step.

Speed up your system by tweaking the startup application in Windows and MacOS

Bothered by programs that automatically start when you boot your computer, or want to add a new one to the list? Here's how to change your startup programs in Windows 7, 8, and 10, along with Apple's MacOS.

Apple may go big with a redesigned 16-inch MacBook Pro, 31.6-inch 6K display

In a research note, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo writes that there are indications the company could be releasing a 16-inch MacBook Pro, as well as a 31.6-inch 6K display in 2019.

Accidental Amazon listings provides peek at cost of GTX 1660 Ti PCs

An accidental listing on Amazon provided a peek at the final cost of some of the new Windows 10 desktops with the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti on board, with prices possibly in the $1,200 range.

The best Presidents’ Day sales 2019: Amazon, Walmart, Dell, and more

Presidents' Day sales are a great chance to score electronics, clothing, home and office stuff, and other goodies at a discount. We’ve smoked out a large handful of the best of these Presidents' Day deals, from tech to bedding, to help…

Nvidia promises DLSS at low resolutions will be ‘top priority’ in future updates

Nvidia's deep learning super sampling needs work. Gamers know it and now we know Nvidia knows it too. The company made it clear on the technology's FAQ page that it plans to make fixing DLSS a top priority.

All signs point to a new Apple external display in 2019. Will it be 6K or 8K?

Will there be an Apple Display 2019? It looks like Apple is getting ready to announce a new monitor, after canceling its old Thunderbolt Display back in 2016. But what will this new display look like? Here's what we know.