HoloLens 2 from Microsoft announced for $ 3,500, available for pre-order now, shipped later this year



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Comfort, better visuals, easier to use with your hands. This is the delivery of HoloLens 2Microsoft's sequel to the Space Age glasses announced four years ago. Technology at the base of USD 3,500 (approximately GBP 2,700 or USD 4,900) HoloLens 2 device, which Microsoft calls "mixed reality", covers computer images of the real world. Imagine arrows leading you down the street while you walk, or repair instructions floating over a machine while you repair it. That's the promise of Mr., says Microsoft.

The company was the pioneer of augmented reality worlds when the technology giant debuted his first helmet, in 2015, billing $ 5,000 to the companies for the gadget. Since then, competing devices, such as the magic jump of $ 2,295, came on stage.

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At such prices, MR headsets are much more expensive than VR technology currently competing on the market. From Facebook Oculus Riftfor example, is $ 349, HTC's Vive is $ 499 and Sony PlayStation VR is $ 299. You need to buy a computer or a PlayStation 4 console to power these VR devices, but even in this case, their prices are at least equal to those of Microsoft or Magic Leap.

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A look at the lenses in the HoloLens 2.

James Martin / CNET

This did not deter Microsoft from designing an improved headset as part of its integration into the world of resuscitation currently much denser. The company said HoloLens was still not ready for use at home. Microsoft is focusing instead on business and the military (although it is agitated dissent in Redmond's ranks, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella rejected. Tuesday more than 250 employees signed an open letter denouncing the agreement.)

In addition to this warning, Microsoft has made welcome improvements to the device, which will be pre-order Sunday and will be available later this year.

"The computer is rooted in our world, in all places and in all ways" Nadella said at the unveiling of the device at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Barcelona. "The computer is present in everything from cars connected to connected refrigerators, to smart surgical tools and even to smart coffee machines."

He said the result was the approach taken by companies like Microsoft to the technology they manufacture. "It is no longer a device first, but to put the man in the forefront, and this includes all the devices of their lives."

"We must not just imagine it," he added. "This future is here."

CNET went to Redmond, Washington, to speak with Microsoft executives and designers, including Technical Fellow Alex Kipman, and to understand HoloLens 2.

In HoloLens 2 is not for you. But HoloLens 3 could bewe are looking at where HoloLens is in the world and why some technicians think that mixed reality technology is going to upset the way we use computers.

"The goal is for these things to transform humans," said Alex Kipman, HoloLens Project Technical Manager. He describes it as giving people super powers. "It's a concept that has been in our dreams."

In HoloLens 2 feels like a practical magicwe share what HoloLens 2 is, its main features and the direction that Microsoft will take in computer-based research … and why it targets businesses, not the average person at the moment. Immerse yourself in what we experienced.

We have also been able to consult the Microsoft lab dedicated to building products that may be suitable for 95% of users, regardless of size or size. That's where Microsoft made the HoloLens 2 fit more comfortably than its predecessor.

In HoloLens 2: why is it really the cloud that countsMary Jo Foley from ZDNet explains the latest applications and services from Microsoft.

Here's what you need to know about what Microsoft is announcing in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress 2019.

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At $ 3,500, it's not yet done for ordinary people

Instead, it is designed primarily for people such as manufacturing workers, industrial designers and the military, and for situations in which field workers may need to work hands-free. But Microsoft said its $ 3,500 headset would be ready for purchase. One day.

It's coming in 2019, but we still do not know when

Microsoft has not yet set a release date, but the HoloLens 2 can be pre-ordered now, if that interests you.

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The HoloLens was already packed with a lot of cameras and other sensors. Now he also has the eye followed

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HoloLens 2 follows your eyes

Microsoft has included sensors near the nose of HoloLens 2, pointed at your eyes. The technology is used to connect to the device, save your individual settings in case you share the headset with a colleague or friend.

Microsoft will also allow application developers to have access to eye tracking. In a demo, the company showed how a teleprompter could follow while you read. There is also the iris recognition on board, which works with Windows Hello to connect to HoloLens 2.

It also follows your hands better

The Magic Leap One and most VR headsets come with dedicated controllers. HoloLens 2 does not do it; it relies on manual and voice commands via Cortana. The first HoloLens recognized basic touch and click gestures, but the new helmet recognizes 21 points of articulation per hand and allows more realistic hand movements. Technically, it's the most advanced manual tracking of all the AR helmets we've tried.

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HoloLens 2 offers more holograms, which makes it much more immersive.

James Martin / CNET

Field of vision doubled

The changes made by Microsoft with HoloLens 2 are much appreciated, but the most dramatic improvement is perhaps the "field of view" or the amount of holograms visible at a given moment.

The field of vision of the first HoloLens was about the size of a deck of cards located a few meters from your face. It was boring. The HoloLens 2 more than doubled this surface, at 52 degrees. Practically, it's not as wide as most virtual reality headsets, but it's better than Magic Leap One.

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Glasses accepted

Unlike many helmets and smart glasses anti-reflective Magic jump a), the HoloLens 2 is designed for glasses. The new folding visor further facilitates sliding and our demonstrations worked for several team members with glasses.

This is an advantage over Magic Leap, which does not work at all with glasses and only offers a limited range of prescription lenses. In 2006, the National Institutes of Health announced that 14 million people in the country needed a vision correction. So, yes, it is important.

New applications from Microsoft and its partners

Microsoft is also announcing new HoloLens applications that it believes most businesses will benefit from. One is called Dynamic 365 Guides, which allows companies to assemble guided instructions in a mixed reality. In a demo, Microsoft asked us to collect the parts and repair a broken ATV, using only the instructions provided by the application.

Another application, called Dynamic 365 Layout, creates a persistent map of the buildings you are in and stores them with Microsoft. This allows developers to place a hologram on a table in a room, for example. If you leave this room and come back a day later or with another HoloLens helmet, you will always find it there.

Microsoft's newest headset works with newer cloud apps, but it does not have a cellular connection device. Instead, it connects via Wi-Fi.

Among other software and business partners, Spatial is a company that develops collaboration software for Internet-based video chat and web-based work that makes you feel as if the people you are connected with are in the same place. room that you.

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Alex Kipman, who heads the HoloLens manufacturing team, said he wanted the device to last long enough for users to be able to use it multiple times before a charge .

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Open system

There is a debate in the technology industry about how computers and phones should work. Should they be "open", like Microsoft Windows and phones equipped with Google's Android software? Or should they be "closed" and tightly managed, like Apple's App Store for iPhone and iPad, promising potentially better security?

Microsoft announced that it would authorize everyone to create an application store for HoloLens 2. It will also allow application developers like Mozilla to bring its Firefox browser to HoloLens 2. as well than. And even developers like Epic Games can create coding tools for HoloLens, Microsoft said.

"Epic will fully support Microsoft HoloLens' strategy now and in the long term", CEO of Epic Tim Sweeney I said.

"I have high hopes and dreams will perform together in this ecosystem," Kipman said.

Battery life? About 3 hours

Microsoft confidently states that it does not expect people to burn an entire battery of HoloLens 2 in one sitting. But if you can, the device lasts about 3 hours, according to the company. This looks like Magic Leap and could be better than Oculus Go's Facebook mobile headset, which lasts about 2 hours with a charge.

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The HoloLens, from the front.

James Martin / CNET

HoloLens 3 arrives in a few years

Microsoft has announced plans to announce the HoloLens 2 follow-up over the next two years. The company did not provide any details, except to say that the device would be even more comfortable and easy to use, and that it would do more than the HoloLens 2.

Kipman said that a prototype of the device was what helped Microsoft win a lucrative $ 480 million contract with the US Army.

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Azure Kinect combines depth detection cameras with a set of microphones, connecting to Microsoft's cloud.

Microsoft

Microsoft also brings Kinect back as an IoT device

the Azure Kinect development kit is a small, self-contained set of cameras and microphones designed to work with a PC or directly in the cloud via Microsoft Azure. The $ 399 development kit is also available for pre-order on Sunday and was announced for the first time at Microsoft Build's conference last year.

Specifications

Here are the speeds and flows.

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 computing platform and second generation custom holographic processing unit.
  • Display: Equivalent of a 2k display for each eye, creating 47 pixels per degree (what Microsoft often calls "retina" display) with a 52-degree field of view. (The original HoloLens had the equivalent of a 720 screen for each eye, with a 30 degree field of view.)
  • Audio input: 5 channel microphone array.
  • Audio output: integrated "spatial audio".
  • Connectivity: USB Type-C, 802.11ac 2×2, no cellular connectivity.
  • Weight: 566 grams or 1.25 pounds. (The original HoloLens weighed 579 grams.)
  • Battery life: about 3 hours

First published February 23 at 9:20 am Eastern Time.
Updated on February 25th. At 3:13 pm PT: Adds details about Microsoft's HoloLens military contract repression; Updated February 26 at 8:30 am Pacific Time.: Adds more and more employees have subscribed to the open letter on Microsoft's military contract.

Mobile World Congress 2019

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