No matter what your hardware preference, the era of high-quality consumer-ready virtual reality is upon us: following the January start to Oculus Rift pre-orders, HTC Vive pre-orders have themselves just gone live. That means we’ve got only a few short weeks to go before these devices are in the hands (and on the heads) of users everywhere, and we start seeing the arrival of a new wave of software and media designed to tap in to this growing VR sector. While we’re hugely excited to see both those units finally arriving, they’re not the only players in this field. Microsoft may be going in a different direction with its augmented-reality, self-contained HoloLens headset, but we’re no less curious to see what it can do. Before HoloLens is ready for the big time, Microsoft needs to make sure there will be plenty of content ready for it, and to that end we see the company getting ready to release HoloLens dev kits, with pre-orders opening today.
The invite-only HoloLens pre-order notices are going out to developers now, asking them to fork over $3000 for one of Microsoft’s headsets, arriving March 30.
In announcing the hardware like this, Microsoft’s telling us a little more about what to expect the device. That includes details like three hours of active battery life, or a two-week standby capacity.
HoloLens will run a 32-bit Intel processor with a custom Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit, have 2GB of RAM, 64GB storage, and a 2MP HD camera. The unit weighs just 579 grams, and (for devs, at least) will ship with Microsoft’s Bluetooth Clicker hand-held remote.
Clearly, HoloLens and Vive/Oculus are going after very different markets, but even as they address different user needs, they’ll all be helping to bring us further into this wearable, immersive-computing future.