While consumers might have to wait a while to experience Microsoft HoloLens, the mixed-reality headset could land in the hands of developers fairly soon. According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, a developer version of the device is slated for a 2016 release.
Nadella discussed the headset's release window in a video interview with BBC, stating that a V1 version of HoloLens will be available for developers and enterprise users "within the next year." The Microsoft boss described HoloLens' development as a "5-year journey," suggesting that it could be quite a while before a mainstream version of the augmented reality device hits the market.
First revealed in January, Microsoft HoloLens is billed as a mixed-reality headset that lets you use holographic versions of Windows 10 apps around your home. You can use it to Skype with a friend on your living room wall, or to play Minecraft on your coffee table, to name a few examples. You can have HoloLens apps follow you around your home, meaning you can start watching a movie in your kitchen and easily bring the virtual screen to your bedroom.
We've had multiple chances to try HoloLens ourselves, and came away impressed every time. During our first demo with the device, we took a virtual walk on Mars and saw a Minecraft world brought to life on top of a table. Later on, at E3 2015, HoloLens put us aboard a real-life Halo ship, where a holographic version of our commander briefed us on a mission before playing some Halo 5.
While HoloLens' current release window is vague, the fact that it will be in developers' hands soon is a big win for anyone looking forward to the headset. We've been blown away by Microsoft's tech demos alone, and we're eager to see what third parties come up with.