Rollout Begins for HoloLens 2

Microsoft started shipping the new version of its mixed reality headset, the HoloLens 2, on Thursday.

While Microsoft touted the idea of using HoloLens 2 in gaming back in February by way of support from partner Epic Games, the company has more frequently billed it as a device for businesses, helping workers learn, collaborate and communicate more effectively. Microsoft's current marketing heavily promotes its use for things like mechanical assistance on industrial shop floors and employee training, and other such matters.

Resellers are selling the "device only" HoloLens 2 at $3,500 per device, per Microsoft's pricing page. They also sell HoloLens 2 bundled with the Dynamics 365 Remote Assist software add-on, offered on a subscription basis, starting at $125 per user per month. There's also a HoloLens 2 Development Edition for developers starting at $99 per month.

Dynamics 365 Add-Ons
The Dynamics 365 Remote Assist add-on provides a means for technicians to collaborate on projects. Microsoft has other add-on solutions for HoloLens 2 that were mentioned back in February. They cost extra for HoloLens 2 subscribers.

For instance, Dynamics 365 Layout, used for planning physical space designs such as floor layouts, is priced at $95 per user per month. Dynamics 365 Guides, used to provide step-by-step instructions to employees using 3-D models, costs $65 per user per month.

Microsoft also has a couple of Azure services, still at preview, that work with HoloLens 2. Azure Spatial Anchors, which also works with Android and iOS devices, creates precise mappings of the physical world that can help when manipulating virtual objects. Azure Remote Rendering adds the ability to display "high-quality 3D models" for designing things like "truck engines" or planning surgeries.

There's also a Microsoft Visio add-in for the Dynamics 365 add-ons that's used to import Visio models. It can be bought from the Microsoft Store.

HoloLens 2 comes with some licensing baggage, which is described in an October 2019 "Mixed Reality Licensing Guide" (PDF download). The guide mostly describes buying so-called "Microsoft 365 Mixed Reality" subscription licensing for HoloLens devices, where the licensing is on a per-user "named user" basis, which means the license can't be shared. A license can be used internally in a company or externally in the field.

Surface Pro X Available
In addition to releasing HoloLens 2, Microsoft this week announced that its new Surface Pro X two-in-one PC is available for purchase in the United States and Canada. Other markets will open "in the coming weeks."

The Surface Pro X is notable for using an ARM-based processor known as the "Microsoft SQ1 processor" that was built by Qualcomm, which gives it a longer battery life. Because it doesn't use an x86 processor, though, software compatibility can be a limitation. Reviews of the machine were collected in this AskWoody blog post.

The Surface Pro X was one of five new coming Surface devices showcased last month in a New York event.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.