While augmented reality (AR) is now gaining ground on virtual reality (VR) in the consumer sphere thanks to developments such as Apple’s ARKit or Google ARCore, when it comes to enterprise customers Microsoft’s HoloLens is still a dominant force. But the AR headset hasn’t always been the easy device to get hold off depending on where you live in the world, now that’s going to change as Microsoft has announced expansion to 29 new European markets.
The addition of the new countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey, brings the total number of HoloLens markets to 39. HoloLens first debuted in the US and Canada, before arriving in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan and China.
The announcement was made at Microsoft Future Decoded in London, UK, by Lorraine Bardeen, General Manager, Microsoft HoloLens and Windows Experiences. In a blog posting Bardeen said: “Mixed reality has the potential to help customers and businesses across the globe do things that until now, have never been possible. Mixed reality experiences will help businesses and their employees complete crucial tasks faster, safer, more efficiently, and create new ways to connect to customers and partners.”
At present Microsoft hasn’t confirmed when these new markets will get HoloLens or what the local cost will be. Currently there are two variations on the headset, a Development Edition for individuals priced at $3,000 USD or the Commercial Suite for organisations which costs $5,000.
For those who already own HoloLens Bardeen has confirmed that: “We are also working to bring some of the most asked for software updates for HoloLens to our existing customers. We are committed to delivering an update to existing customers sometime early next year.”
HoloLens maybe marketed as a tool for enterprise – Microsoft has collaborated with several companies like Ford, thyssenkrupp and Stryker – there are quite a few developers testing the headset’s entertainment value, with Kazendi creating a Rémy Martin experience, developer Abhishek Singh recreating the famous first level of the classic NES platformer Super Mario Bros., or how about HappyGiant’s HoloGrid: Monster Battle.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of HoloLens, reporting back with the latest announcements.