Assuring the skeptics who were claiming that its HoloLens project was more of a laboratory amusement rather than something with the potential to go mainstream in the near future, Microsoft has started taking pre-orders from developers who have applied for a HoloLens development kit.
The company has also announced a bunch of applications that are aimed at showing-off varied capabilities of the HoloLens hardware, including a special version of Skype and a few games.
The company has still not gone for a public roll-out though and by offering developers a chance to get their hands upon the development kit first, Microsoft is probably hoping to expand the ecosystem as well as get a feel of public response.
Along with Skype, Microsoft is also launching a few games, although there is no word on the most eagerly anticipated, HoloLens edition of Minecraft. Topping the company’s list of HoloLens games for developers that have been confirmed are Fragments, Young Conker and Robo Raid, and from what we have been able to gather, the gameplay genre might just be in for a paradigm shift in the near future — courtesy HoloLens.
While Fragments involves characters that will walk around your room, sit down on your sofa and hold conversations with you, Young Conker is a platformer that is being touted as being able to provide a unique gameplay experience to different individuals.
Finally, the company is also shipping the HoloStudio 3D-modelling tool besides the hyped up HoloTour, which is being touted as the future of travelling. HoloTour, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, provides users with an immersive experience by letting them see high-resolution 360-degree panoramic images of exotic locations, from their living room.
Coming to the kit itself, which costs somewhere in the neighbourhood of $3000, along with a HoloLens and clicker, you also get a carrying case and all the fitting apparatus, including nose pads and overhead straps. Finally, there is a microfiber cloth and a charger included with the package.
The HoloLens included in the developer version appears to be a low end model and features a meagre 2GB of RAM and 64GB of flash memory. The device also seems to be a bit on the heavy side at almost 600 grams.
Although, in all honesty, we don’t really have any particular standards to judge from as of now. So for all we know, the developer edition may just be the best HoloLens that has been manufactured yet.
The HololLens is powered by an intel 32-bit architecture CPU and Microsoft’s “Holographic Processing Unit” (HPU), working in tandem with 2 High Definition16:9 light engines to offer a net holographic resolution of 2.3 million light points.
Speaking on the topic, Alex Kipman, Microsoft, said
HoloLens has see-through holographic lenses that use an advanced optical projection system to generate multi-dimensional full-color holograms with very low latency so you can see holographic objects in your world.
The key to a great holographic experience is holograms that are light point rich, i.e., they have a high holographic density and are pinned, or anchored, to the world around you.
The device is expected to run for a couple of hours at a stretch, a bit less than predicted, and can go for a couple of weeks upon standby.
Well, HoloLens is certainly very, very, very exciting and i don’t even need to elaborate upon the things that have the potential of deploying this technology. However, this is the first time that developers — who ultimately form the backbone of any ecosystem — will get a shot at the Lens and will be able to voice their views and opinions, along with developing and modifying their own apps for the platform.
Microsoft will start shipping the first batch of HoloLens units to developers in the U.S. and Canada, from the 30th of March.