Microsoft is expanding availability of its existing HoloLens augmented-reality goggles to six more countries next month.
As of today, October 12, users in Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom can pre-order HoloLens. Shipments will begin in November.
Microsoft first showed off publicly its HoloLens device in January 2015, and shipped HoloLens developer kits in the U.S. and Canada in late March 2016. At first, device availability was limited to developers pre-selected by Microsoft. In August, Microsoft made HoloLens available to anyone in the U.S. and Canada who was willing to pay the $3,000 for the device.
Update: Currently, to be clear, here are two different options for HoloLens purchasers: The Development Edition is $3,000. The Commercial Suite, which includes security and device management capabilities, plus a warranty, is $5000. (Both of these prices are for U.S.)
The target audiences of the current HoloLens headset are Windows 10 developers and business users. (HoloLens runs a variant of Windows 10 inside.)
Microsoft is planning to add Windows Holographic support to Windows 10 PCs running "Redstone 2," the next major update to Windows 10 that is expected to be commercially available in the Spring of 2017. And it is working to attract PC and device makers to build Windows Holographic-based devices of their own.
My bet is Microsoft itself won't be building a cheaper, consumer-targeted Windows Holographic device; instead, my guess is some partner or partners will do that, much the same way Microsoft OEMs have built cheaper and more consumer-focused versions of Windows PCs.
Microsoft officials have not released information on how many HoloLens headsets the company has sold to date.
But yesterday, shares of display vendor Himax Technologies were dinged after an industry watcher said there had been a "sharp drop-off in revenue from Microsoft's HoloLens," Barron's reported. Barron's report said Microsoft is cutting orders for components for HoloLens "as it rejiggers the product, which is still a device mostly for developers to play with."