Microsoft first revealed HoloLens 2 at Mobile World Congress in February. Now the company is ready to put the second-generation mixed reality headset in the hands of developers.
Ahead of Build 2019, Microsoft announced the HoloLens 2 Development Edition, a kit designed to get developers to build mixed reality apps. We got to spend some hands-on time with the retail version of the HoloLens 2, and were impressed by its ability to overlay high-resolution graphics on top of real objects. While initially hyped as the future of personal computing, Microsoft envisions HoloLens as a tool to be used in classrooms, factories and operating rooms.
HoloLens 2 Development Edition will cost $3,500 (or starting at $99 a month) and come with a HoloLens 2 headset, $500 worth of Azure credits and a 3-month trial of Unity Pro and Unity PiXYZ Plugin for CAD data.
“Pairing HoloLens 2 with Unity’s real-time 3D development platform enables businesses to accelerate innovation, create immersive experiences, and engage with industrial customers in more interactive ways," said Tim McDonough, the general manager of industrial at Unity.
Along with the Development Edition, Microsoft also revealed that it would be expanding its Mixed Reality Developer Program by putting further investment in meetups, programs and events. The company expects the 20,000 developers in the program to triple in size by May of next year.
Microsoft previously announced that support for the Unreal Engine 4 would be coming to HoloLens 2, but now we know that the game engine will be available for mixed reality development by the end of this month. While Microsoft hasn't yet announced any games for HoloLens 2, the Unreal Engine is expected to enable photo-realistic graphics and more immersive experiences.
We expect to hear a lot more about HoloLens 2 and everything Microsoft at Microsoft Build 2019, which will kick off on May 6.