Microsoft has announced the HoloLens 2 Development Edition, which will allow anyone to get their hands on the company's latest AR headset.
With the original HoloLens, Microsoft offered two versions: one for businesses and one for developers. When HoloLens 2 rolled around, however, it seemed only the enterprise edition would be available, meaning you'd have to prove a business use to get one. In fact, Microsoft said it had no plans for a developer version - but here we are.
Hands on: Microsoft HoloLens 2 review
This time around, the Development Edition costs the same as the Enterprise model, so that's a cool $3,500 - or $99 per month, if you register to Microsoftâs Mixed Reality Developer Program. That monthly payment plan will be more palatable for many.
Microsoft's also tossing in a few incentives to sweeten the deal for developers: $500 in Azure credits and three-month free trials of Unity Pro and the Unity PiXYZ Plugin for CAD data .
Those may or may not matter to you, but the headline here is that HoloLens 2 could feasibly be purchased by anyone. Microsoft needs developers to build the HoloLens ecosystem, and it's also announcing that HoloLens 2 will get Unreal Engine 4 support by the end of May.
With HoloLens 2, Microsoft's pitching its AR headset at the commercial market, rather than consumers, but, every time I discuss this with the company, they say the same thing: a consumer ecosystem will come in time. For now, the priority is building the platform - and developers are how you do that.
Microsoft says anyone interested will need to sign up to the Mixed Reality Developer Program, which you can access here. No confirmed release date for the headset yet, beyond some time "later this year".