The HoloLens 2 was unwrapped at a media event today by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who noted that, “this new medium is just the beginning of experiencing what's possible - when you connect the digital world with the physical world to transform how we work, rest and play.”
“Our collective opportunity has never been greater... this future is here.”
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Four years on from the original device's launch, HoloLens 2 offers a significant hardware upgrade on the first-generation device, providing more immersion than ever before.
The new unit will offer than double the field of vision than the original Hololens thanks to a newly-designed 2K MEMS display that features eye-tracking for the first time.
HoloLens 2 also adapt to you personally, learning from your gestures to lead to even more in-depth experiences, calibrating to an individual's own hands, and can now adopt holograms in real-time thanks to new “intent detection” tools.
Security is provided by the same iris authentication tools used in Windows Hello, with logins starting as soon as you put on the device.
Comfort and open
Microsoft has also improved the comfort of the design, scanning the heads of thousands of people to create a more elegant, universal-fit design system that it says can fit more kinds of people than ever before – even if you wear glasses.
HoloLens 2 is also lighter and more durable due to a new carbon-fibre build that “sets a new standard for comfort”, Microsoft’s Alex Kipman said.
Microsoft showcased a number of impressive demos in its event designed to show off the sheer scale of use cases it anticipates for HoloLens 2, from construction workers to nurses to schoolchildren.
The device will be ready to use out of the box for business customers, as well as all Microsoft's own suite of mixed-reality specific solutions on Microsoft Dynamics 365.
This now includes a new Guides feature that will allow companies to train workers faster than ever before, offering step-by-step instructions for mechanics, construction workers or maintenance crews.
And thanks to the new HoloLens customization program, companies can tweak the kit to their own needs, adding specific services, apps or branding.
Microsoft is also opening an open app store, allowing developers to create their own marketplaces for content, and will support all web browsers - not just Edge. Firefox is the first big partner to sign up, with its new browser offering available on HoloLens 2.
HoloLens 2 preorder are open now, with price schemes starting at $125 per month, or an enterprise edition available soon, costing from $3500.
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Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.