On March 30, 2016, Microsoft announced that the first units of the Microsoft HoloLens Developer Edition had started shipping for pre-orders. The $3,000 augmented reality headset is still targeting businesses and developers rather than consumers, but it sounds like Microsoft still has some big plans for its technology.
In a blog post, Alex Kipman, the head of the HoloLens team, noted that in the year since the headset began shipping, about 150 apps have been developed for the AR technology. They have included apps like HoloHear, which allows a wearer who happens to be deaf to know what a person is saying by converting speech into visible sign language. Another HoloLens app is Teomirn, which lets the headset wearer learn piano by overlaying virtual instructions on top of the keyboard.
Kipman said we will learn more about Microsoft’s plans for HoloLens this May as part of the company’s 2017 Build developer conference. Recent rumors claimed that Microsoft has made some changes in its hardware plans for HoloLens. These reports state that the company decided to cancel plans for a smaller and cheaper second-generation headset in favor of a more advanced hardware product that would launch in 2019.
In related news, The Verge obtained an internal email written by Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows and devices. He stated that the company is launching its own Mixed Reality Marketing Team. This suggests that the company is going to make a bigger push to promote both HoloLens and the upcoming Mixed Reality headsets made by third-party PC makers to consumers this year. The team will be lead by the former chief marketing officer at Oculus, Liz Hamren.