HoloLens 2 is Now Available

Posted on November 7, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft HoloLens with 19 Comments

Microsoft announced that it is now shipping HoloLens 2 to customers, and it’s coming with some new features, too.

“HoloLens 2 is now shipping to customers,” Microsoft’s John Roach announced. “The sensor-packed holographic computing headset uses AI to displace space and time, creating a mixed reality of people, places and things in order to facilitate one of our most basic human impulses: exchanging knowledge.”

As you may recall, Microsoft announced HoloLens 2 back in February and as I wrote at the time, it is a significant improvement over its predecessor, with a more comfortable fit, a more natural and training-less experience, and a much better field of view: Where the initial unit was limited by a small 16:9 FOV, HoloLens 2 improves the view by about 3X, I was told this week. And I was able to get a second hands-on demo.

This new experience confirmed my positive impressions of the device. But I was surprised by two new additions. There are some new gestures based on open and turned palms, including the placement of a hologram-based Start icon on your wrist that is really neat. And an incredible new feature where you can grab a Hologram and walk around with it, twisting it in space as you go.

That latter new feature was particularly impressive because it was paired in the demo with a new “drawing” application, where you can draw three-dimensional squiggles in the air. The squiggles have depth, of course, but in addition to viewing them from any angle, you can pick them up and move around with them.

Aside from these new features, HoloLens 2 carries forward with everything that was so impressive from my initial demo, including the incredible eye- and hand-tracking systems, the lack of any latency, and the Azure Spatial Anchors functionality that shares spatial maps with others: A HoloLens 2 user can basically leave holograms at specific locations and then other users, with HoloLens headsets or AR-based apps on mobile devices, can find and interact with them as well. (Microsoft used this capability to create Minecraft Earth, for example.)

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Comments (19)

19 responses to “HoloLens 2 is Now Available”

  1. MikeGalos

    Another feature it has now is three and a half years of application development experience out there by both internal and 3rd party developers in bunches of different industries.

  2. Thom77

    Has anyone actually seen one these in use in the real world in real use case scenarios?

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to Thom77:

      As a trainer-level employee at a major US retailer, I can confirm that HoloLens is used for store-remodeling uses. Regional staff visited our location and using a HoloLens 1 headset toured the store and were able to see the proposed changes in real time. Store staff were allowed to see it and the effect was profound.


      Even with the small FOV of the original HoloLens, being able to see the new design overlaid over the current store was quite impressive. Designer and executive notes were visible in the viewport as well, so that we could understand the reasons for the changes.

      • Greg Green

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        This is the impression I get, that it’s exclusively corporate use and successful.

      • Jeffsters

        In reply to jimchamplin:

        As an employee of a major US retailer I'm not seeing the use case here. Seems to be a wasteful and expensive dog-and-pony show. Better to invest the money in price and use that walk around time, which honestly can't be that exciting, to actually planning the mods. BYW: Who explains "reasons" for mod changes? Really? You think people on the floor care that coop dollars from supplier "A" are greater than supplier "B"? Or that item "A" is associated be larger basket customers so it's getting an additional facing so to reduce out of stocks? Uh huh...sure! Again if that's the case you guys are REALLY wasting time and a crap load of money! Carry on!

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Thom77:

      I've seen a software company selling software where you can see where in the world a building you are designing is going to sit. I don't know if they sold any copies of that software or not.

  3. ghostrider

    I've said it many times, headsets like this, VR or AR, are NOT the future. They have very specific use cases where they can help (medical, architecture, construction etc), but that's about it other than gaming. Devices like Hololens will never be a commercial success, just like all other attempts so far. As a tech demo, sure, enjoy it, sing it's praises, but as a product people would actually buy in numbers, forget it.

    • Jeffsters

      In reply to ghostrider:

      I agree. These are niche products that will have some vertical utility but people ARE NOT going to walk around with anything on their faces. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! We spend billions on Lasik, billions more on contacts, and tens of billions more on just the right designer glasses. These are non-starters. That said, the software and uses are cool. We need hardware to one day catch up and get it down to simple contact lenses. If they can fit AR into contact lenses I'm all in! VR, as far as I'm concerned, is for games and simulations or emersion, and can stay a headset.

    • eric_rasmussen

      In reply to ghostrider:

      When you can add machine intelligence to everyday objects, such as seeing names above people's heads in a crowd, saving and restoring whiteboard drawings at work, or displaying nutrition facts for food sitting on a plate, you enable a new kind of integration of computers into people's lives. This kind of recognition, processing, and holographic display is still a ways off technology-wise but I do think it's inevitable. I think at some point our TVs, computer monitors, and other display devices will be virtualized. Having a virtual computer monitor would allow you to have a large screen while on a plane or train ride without taking up any room in the real world.


      I think if they can be made small enough and cheap enough, they will replace a lot of devices we currently carry around with us.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to ghostrider:

      There are a lot of doctors and architects running around. You must define success accordingly.

    • tradikal

      In reply to ghostrider: How about games for kids birthday parties like pin the tail on the donkey, or virtual birthday cakes, pie-throwing contests, etc. Forget lazer tag and bowling - oh wait virtualize those too...


  4. VancouverNinja

    Paul,


    I know at $3.5K this is over the top expensive for my following question; would this be a good option when traveling on long flights to watch video media while on a plane for example? Could it store or access video media without internet access?


    Would it be a good option to work with instead of a laptop including a keyboard and a mouse?

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