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Microsoft Introduces HoloLens 2 w/ Smaller Form Factor, Wider Field of View

At an event during MWC 2019, Microsoft finally unveiled the second version of the company’s HoloLens holographic headset. This time around, however, the company is repositioning the device as more of an enterprise solution rather something everyone will have in their homes. The company has enjoyed tremendous success with enterprise customers in the past with the first HoloLens, and the tech giant’s latest hardware is built to improve upon the overall experience.

For starters, Microsoft has made the HoloLens 2 smaller. It’s not like wearing a pair of glasses or anything, but it’s certainly more compact than it used to be. According to the company, the new headset uses carbon fiber and improved thermal management for enhanced comfort during longer periods of use. A new dial on the back tightens the headband, and there’s an updated visor which can flip up if you need to refocus your concentration somewhere else. The new hardware also has a more balanced center of gravity

To help the adoption process of HoloLens for new businesses, Microsoft is introducing the HoloLens Customization Program. This way, you can customize the fleet of HoloLens systems you bring into your business with different hardware and color schemes. For example, Trimble made a hard hat version of the HoloLens 2 for added safety and to meet legal guidelines.

With any good second generation product comes new upgrades that improve the overall user experience. That’s exactly what you get when it comes to the HoloLens 2. In this case, Microsoft is using an improved resolution to make things clearer in each eye. The company says the upgrade is the equivalent of a 2K television for each eye over the two 720p TVs in the previous generation. You also get a field of view that’s twice as wide as before which will definitely help multitaskers and more immersive experiences feel less artificial.

The company is also introducing improved tracking with the HoloLens 2. Microsoft uses a new time-of-flight sensor in the headset combined with artificial intelligence to track your hands and gestures without a separate controller. With this technology on board, Microsoft says HoloLens 2 allows for ” direct manipulation of holograms with the same instinctual interactions you’d use with physical objects in the real world.” In other words, you’ll be able to interact with holograms in the same ways you do real objects.

In addition, HoloLens 2 adds new eye-tracking sensors that make interacting with holograms seem more natural. What’s more, these sensors enable Windows Hello eye-dentification (pun definitely intended) to securely log into the device.

With a broader focus on enterprise customers, Microsoft is ditching its previous developer kit that people could buy to build experiences for HoloLens. Instead, the company will be behind most of the softawre that hits the headset. It’s working with a number of corporations including Honeywell, Airbus, and Pearson on extra softwrae support and new utilities to get work done.

Much like the last version, however, the new HoloLens 2 won’t be cheap. Microsoft will charge $3,500 for each headset which is no small chunk of change. The good news? It’s launch in a bunch of places all over the world on day one, including the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Germany, France, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. It goes on sale some time this year.