Microsoft Unveils HoloLens 2 Mixed Reality Headset With Major Upgrades And Eye Tracking

The 2019 Mobile World Congress kicks off tomorrow in Barcelona, Spain but several companies have already introduced a wide variety of products. Many consumers are eagerly awaiting the announcement of mobile devices like foldable or 5G smartphones. However, after several months of heavy-handed hints, we have finally seen what Microsoft plans to do with their offering in mixed reality technology. The Redmond company just unveiled their HoloLens 2 at its press event today.

microsoft hololens 2

The HoloLens 2 builds upon the original HoloLens, a mixed reality headset that was released by Microsoft in 2016. According to Julia White, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Azure, the HoloLens assisted users “from construction sites to factory floors, from operating rooms to classrooms.”

Microsoft's HoloLens 2 addresses some of the concerns that were vocalized by first generation HoloLens users. First, the HoloLens 2 is more “immersive”. The device features double the field of vision of the original; each eye piece will offer about a 2,000x1,500 resolution display and roughly a 53-degree field of view, which is close to what the human eye can perceive. Also on board is new eye-tracking sensor technology, and a new display system that performs better at low power. Users will also reportedly be able to manipulate the holograms the glasses generate in a more instinctual way.

Also, the HoloLens 2 is also reportedly more comfortable. The device is made of light carbon-fiber material and is more easily adjustable. 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.

Lastly, the new device also includes new mixed reality applications. One past complaint has been that there are simply not enough useful mixed reality apps to justify the price of the first gen Hololens. Microsoft is particularly focused on creating apps that can be used in the workplace and classroom. Users will now be able to create their own mixed reality apps with the new Azure Spatial Anchors, while Azure Cloud Remote Rendering will help users interact with 3D models. Microsoft is also releasing a new Dynamics 365 Guides app. This app will provide users with step-by-step instructions and train them for real-life situations.

microsoft hololens 2 model

Unfortunately, the HoloLens 2 also comes with a hefty price tag. Enterprise users and consumers can pre-order the HoloLens 2 now for $3,500 USD, or pay $125 per user per month for the device and Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Remote Assist app. It appears that Microsoft is not yet ready to release a device that would appeal to the mass market, at an appropriate price point. Perhaps down the road, the HoloLens 3 or another Microsoft mixed reality headset will be available at a more palatable price point for mainstream consumers.
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