Earlier this year, Microsoft showed off its play into the mixed reality world with virtual reality headsets at Build. The devices, which the company hopes will help it be a key player in the augmented reality future, are now available for sale.
Made available on Microsoft’s website are the Acer headset for $299 and the HP model for $329. From a spec perspective, both devices are identical with a 1440×1440 panel per eye, 90hz display and 95-degree field of view. The fact that the specs are the same should not be surprising as there is a hard minimum requirement for these devices to be able to run the Windows 10 software adequately and not produce motion sickness.
Microsoft is hoping that these mixed reality headsets will be a stepping stone to a later version of HoloLens. The goal is that with these devices being offered at a low price point, developers will build content for them and when HoloLens is ready for the consumer, that content will translate well to the new device.
Later this year, there will also be two controllers available for the headset but Microsoft says that these will not be offered until closer to the holiday shopping season.
Of course, Microsoft is not the only company playing in this segment. Apple has AR Kit, Facebook has Oculus, Google has Day Dream and there is also Magic Leap. This market is rapidly evolving with each company hoping to become a leader in the industry but for now, expect all of these competitors to move aggressively forward to try and capitalize on the growing market share.
[Update] Confusingly, the fine print at the bottom of the page says that this is still a pre-order and that devices will arrive in August.