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HoloLens Dev Edition pre-orders open, hardware specs and new software revealed

February 29, 2016 | By Chris Kerr

February 29, 2016 | By Chris Kerr
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More: VR, Video

Microsoft has opened pre-orders for its $3000 HoloLens Development Edition today, and has revealed a swathe of hardware and software details in the process. 

Once again, Microsoft reiterated its augmented reality headset will be fully untethered, meaning it won't need a PC or phone connection, or any other external attachments to function. 

A custom-built Microsoft Holographic Processing Unit (HPU), Intel 32-bit architecture, and multiple environment understanding sensors, which help HoloLens understand gestures and map environments in real-time, will power the Windows 10 device in conjunction with an advanced optical projection system. 

According to Microsoft, the key to a great holographic experience is "holograms that have a high holographic density and are pinned, or anchored, to the world around you." 

To that end, HoloLens has been fitted with advanced sensors and built-in cameras, which will also let users record mixed-reality captures, HD pictures, and videos of their holograms, and share them with others - whether they have a HoloLens or not. 

As well as all of the above, the headset will also support Bluetooth 4.1, allowing it to connect with accessories such a bundled clicker designed to make holographic interaction easier.

To help kick-start the development of new apps, developers who pre-order HoloLens will also be given access to a handful of free "holographic experiences."

Microsoft will be offering up apps such as Skype, HoloStudio, which allows people to easily create in 3D, and HoloTour, an app that transports people to difference locations using high-resolution 360-degree panoramic displays. 

The company will also serve up a free video game apps in the form of Fragments, Young Conker, and RoboRaid

Fragments is a mixed reality crime drama designed to highlight how HoloLens devs can leverage the platform to drive emotional engagement and attachment. Young Conker - shown above - is a new take on Rare's classic IP that adapts traditional platforming mechanics and places them in a reactive real-world environment. 

Finally, RoboRaid is a first-person holographic shooter that utilizes spatial sound along with HoloLen's gaze, gesture, and voice input features to deliver "fast and frenetic gameplay."

Those interested in the headset can apply for a HoloLens Development Edition right here. Devices will start shipping in the U.S. and Canada on March 30.

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