the move as "an important milestone" for HoloLens' development. For the first time, HoloLens will be available outside of North America, giving developers in other regions the opportunity to begin building apps for what Microsoft thinks will evolve into the future of computing.
HoloLens was unveiled in January 2015 as a surprise announcement at a Windows 10 event. It is a self-contained holographic computer that enables you to use regular Windows apps in a holographic context. In the past year, Microsoft has stepped up its work on HoloLens and released an
early version of the hardware to developers and partners.
The majority of Windows 10 apps can run on HoloLens without modification. These tend to be simple experiences that can be pinned to a wall in your home or used at a virtual desk though. Microsoft is helping developers to create new apps especially for mixed reality. These will use the HoloLens' unique capabilities to create true holograms to fill your room.
So far, over 80 exclusive mixed reality apps have been published to the Windows Store, according to Microsoft. These include virtual aquariums for your living room, the ability to turn any floor into a pool of lava and an app to let you create mixed reality fireworks wherever you are.
By bringing HoloLens to new markets, Microsoft hopes to catalyse the creation
of more apps. It realises that HoloLens will need a diverse array of content before it can receive a consumer launch. Although, developers can create HoloLens apps without ever touching the hardware, Microsoft recognised that access to the headset is important for companies thinking seriously about mixed reality.
"When we set out to pioneer mixed reality we knew that many of the best innovations would be discovered only when developers and organizations started developing with HoloLens," said Microsoft's
Alex Kipman. "As a creator, there is no better feeling than empowering others to let their imagination run wild with innovation. It has been nothing short of inspiring to see what our partners have built and what individual developers have created."
In August, Microsoft announced
that Windows Holographic will be coming to all Windows 10 PCs in an update next year. This will enable any Windows 10 desktop device to power virtual and mixed reality headsets using the Windows Holographic Shell. It is the first time this kind of technology has been integrated directly into Windows. It should further motivate developers to build for mixed reality.
The HoloLens is now available to pre-order today in Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. It remains available in the United States and Canada to interested developers. Pricing varies by region but will be based on the $3,000 U.S. starter package.