HoloLens 2: Microsoft’s augmented reality headset launches

And it’s “only” $3500.

Aiming to be a significant upgrade over its predecessor in both field and overall performance, the second generation of the company’s head-mounted computer is geared primarily towards enterprise organizations, where Microsoft and its partners are continuing to experiment with and develop practical applications for augmented reality in the workplace.

The HoloLens has gotten a redesign for better ergonomics, so its weight sits more comfortably and it’s less difficult to find a good viewing angle. Its field of view has substantially increased, from 34 degrees to 52 degrees diagonally — Microsoft has described the overall area as “more than doubled,” and while you can debate the specifics, it’s a dramatic improvement.

Microsoft has also added full-fledged gesture tracking, not just the “air tap” option from the original HoloLens. You can do things like pinch and drag objects or pull up menus by tapping a holographic button on your wrist.

These new gestures are an important draw for companies that might want to upgrade from the earlier HoloLens, since they open up a new range of app options.

Aimed at businesses

While the original HoloLens was primarily aimed at enterprise users and businesses, there were a few games and creative apps, like a special version of Minecraft, which could appeal to a wider audience.

However, the HoloLens 2 is aimed squarely at business users – as the incredibly high price tag hints at. Businesses that require hands-free 3D visuals – such as in manufacturing – are the primary target audience, but many companies may view that $3,500 asking price just too steep.

The HoloLens 2 will be sold in the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland and New Zealand, and Microsoft has confirmed that the original HoloLens will still be supported – though it won’t be able to run apps with gesture control support.

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