Microsoft unveiled the latest version of its HoloLens 'mixed reality' headset at MWC Barcelona today. The new HoloLens 2 features a larger field of view, higher resolution and a device that's more comfortable to wear. Indeed, Microsoft says the device is three times as comfortable to wear (though it's unclear how Microsoft measured this).
Later this year, HoloLens 2 will be available in the United States, Japan, China, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom , Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand for $ 3,500.
One of the knocks against the original HoloLens was its limited field of view. Whenever you want to look at it, just look at it. But when you moved your head a little bit or looking at a large object, it felt like you were looking through a stamp-sized screen. HoloLens 2 features a field of view that's twice as large as the original.
"Kinect was the first smart device to enter our homes," HoloLens chief Alex Kipman said in today's keynote, looking back the the past device's history. "It's been to Microsoft HoloLens. […] Over the past few years, individual developers, large enterprises, brand new startup have been dreaming up beautiful things, helpful things. "
The HoloLens was always just as much about the software as the hardware, though. For HoloLens, Microsoft has developed a special version of Windows, together with a new way of interacting with the AR objects through gestures like air tap and bloom. In this new version, the interaction is more natural and lets you tap objects. The device also tracks your gaze.
"HoloLens 2 evolves the interaction model by significantly advancing how people engage with holograms."
In its demos, the company clearly emphasized how much faster and fluid the interaction with HoloLens applications becomes when you can use slides, for example, by simply grabbing the slider and moving it, or by tapping on a button with either a finger or two or with your full hand. Microsoft event built a virtual piano that you can play with to see how well the HoloLens can track movement.
Microsoft first unveiled the HoloLens concept at its Redmond campus back in 2015. After a limited, invite-only release that started after the end of MWC 2016 , the device went on sale to everybody in August 2016.  The HoloLens applications are on a stable platform. 19659002] To support developers, Microsoft is launching a number of Azure services for HoloLens today. These include spatial anchors and remote rendering to help developers stream high-polygon content to HoloLens.
It's worth noting that. I may have seen the occasional game, but its always on business applications, with a bit of thug in, too. That trend continued today. Microsoft showed off the ability to have multiple people collaborate around a single hologram, for example. Microsoft is positioning this technology.
For these enterprises, Microsoft wants to offer the ability to customize the device.
"When you change the "You see the world, you change the world you see," said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft's first holoLens announcement four years ago. He noted that he believes the physical world is in the process of becoming a virtual world.