Today Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman unveiled the second generation HoloLens mixed reality headset at an MWC event in Barcelona, which is called the HoloLens 2. The HoloLens 2 is packed with major hardware and comfort improvements. And the weight of the HoloLens 2 has been reduced compared to the previous generation of the mixed reality headset.
Photo: HoloLens 2 / Credit: Microsoft
“The walls that make our world feel divided make our world feel broken,” said Kipman at the event via Fortune. “As members of the mixed reality community, we want the future to be open—open to your creativity, open to your ideas, open to your vision. Now imagine what we could accomplish as a mixed-reality community when barriers are removed and we transition from walled gardens to a communal garden.”
This means that the HoloLens ecosystem will be kept open with third-party app stores and browsers. Mozilla is already on-board with this plan as they are developing a Firefox browser for the HoloLens. And Tim Sweeney, the CEO of Fortnite developer company Epic Games, appeared at the event to emphasize the importance of the HoloLens’ openness.
The HoloLens 2 has a dial on the rear to make it easier to adjust the comfort levels and there is a flip-up visor so you can easily take a break from your mixed reality experience. And with the HoloLens 2, Microsoft has doubled the field-of-view. And the mixed reality headset also supports more gestures such as moving around individual fingers. Microsoft senior researcher Julia Schwarz showed the benefits of this feature using a virtual piano at the event.
And the HoloLens 2 has a new time-of-flight sensor to improve depth-sensing. And with advancements in artificial intelligence, Microsoft was able to integrate the ability to manipulate holograms. And the HoloLens 2 also features eye-tracking so you can log in with Windows Hello.
HoloLens 2 retails for about $3,500 and it will be available in the U.S., U.K., Japan, China, Germany, Canada, Ireland, France, Australia, and New Zealand later this year.
Here is a video of Microsoft’s event at MWC: