Microsoft has finally set a release date for its second-generation augmented reality headset, HoloLens 2. Executive vice president Harry Shum told attendees at Shanghai’s World Artificial Intelligence Conference that the device will go on sale in September 2019, Reuters reports.
Thanks to its $3,500 asking price, HoloLens 2 is being targeted primarily at enterprises and developers, rather than the general population, just like the original HoloLens. The new version boasts a variety of comfort improvements, including more balanced front and back weight, plus a flip-up visor design, eye-tracking, improved time-of-flight gesture tracking, and a larger field of view.
While HoloLens reportedly suffered from very limited adoption, Microsoft is working to make the sequel more successful with a variety of hardware and software changes. The new model uses an ARM processor, supports Epic’s Unreal Engine 4, and gives developers access to a wider range of APIs and drivers, including the ability to create their own app stores for distribution of HoloLens 2 apps. Last month, the company offered an impressive demonstration of the device’s AI and near-photorealistic rendering capabilities, generating a foreign language-translating human avatar to deliver an English language speech in Japanese.
Microsoft has been taking preorders for HoloLens 2 for months and making units available to select developers, so the September release date appears to be when the company will commence shipments more broadly. If Microsoft follows its prior HoloLens strategy, demo units could appear in its retail stores during the holiday season.