Microsoft has announced that they will begin shipping out their Augmented Reality HoloLens development kits to developers who apply for one (and are approved) on March 30th. There will also be a $3,000 price tag tacked on to those kits.
For those of you not familiar with AR, it is similar to Virtual Reality, but instead of completely blacking out reality and putting you in a virtual one, AR allows you to see the world around you but places holograms in your field of view so it looks like these things are there in your reality.
Also, unlike it’s competitors Sony, HTC/Valve, and Oculous, the HoloLens’s hardware is tucked into the goggles themselves and do not need to be hooked up to a compute or PlayStation to function. That said, there are plans for the HoloLens to work with Windows 10 and the Xbox One with games like Minecraft.
Two of the above mentioned VR sets have price tags between $600 and $700 respectfully, with the Sony VR set probably costing somewhere in that neighborhood (though I’m going out on a limb to say it will cost somewhere south of $500, maybe $399 to $499), but what about the Hololens? That $3,000 price tag seems a bit steep, and it is.
However, this is for the development kit, not the retail version. This isn’t to say that the retail version won’t cost $3,000, but if you want to create a new market you don’t do it with a price point that is unattainable for most people. I would honestly be surprised if a retail version was more than $999, still a high price but one people would probably be more willing to settle from than $3,000.
No retail release date has been announced but with devkits going out at the end of March I would guess to say we’re a year or so away from release. One major thing you need at release time for any hardware is software and that takes a while to develop. We’ll keep you posted when were get more information on the HoloLens.