Microsoft’s first unveiled its HoloLens 2 headset at Mobile World Congress back in February, promising a release later this year. Reuters now reports that the HoloLens 2 headset will go on sale in September. Microsoft’s head of AI and research, Harry Shum, reportedly revealed next month’s release date during an onstage appearance at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Thursday.
While Shum said September for HoloLens 2, a Microsoft statement suggests he may have misspoke or referred to prototype devices being shared with more customers. “As we announced in February, Microsoft HoloLens 2 will begin shipping later this year,” says a Microsoft spokesperson. “We have started collecting expressions of interest for HoloLens 2 preorders and, as part of our standard practice for gathering feedback, have shared near-final prototypes with some customers, but have not announced a date for general availability.”
Microsoft started taking preorders from businesses for the $3,500 HoloLens 2 headset earlier this year, before unveiling a developer edition. The new augmented reality headset includes an improved field of view, a new Azure Kinect sensor, an ARM processor, eye-tracking sensors, and different display system. Microsoft has also improved the gesture controls in HoloLens 2 so you can manipulate objects more easily.
Microsoft is also adopting a more open model for HoloLens 2 and Windows more broadly. It involves an open app store so developers can create their own stores on the headset, an open web browsing model, and more open APIs and drivers. Microsoft made these commitments earlier this year, and they were enough to impress Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, a previous fierce critic of Microsoft’s Windows Store approach. As a result, the HoloLens 2 headset will also support for the Unreal Engine 4 , allowing developers to include photo-realistic renders for use in manufacturing, product design, architecture, and more.
Update, August 29th 4:45PM ET: Article updated with a new Microsoft statement that suggests the company has not set a firm date for the release of HoloLens 2.