HoloLens goes on sale in Australia as VR market heats up

HoloLens goes on sale in Australia as VR market heats up

Microsoft "mixed-reality" headset set to ship in November

Australians will be able to get their hands on Microsoft’s HoloLens “mixed-reality” headset come November, with local pre-orders for the device now open.

Microsoft’s HoloLens Development Edition and the HoloLens Commercial Suite are now both available for pre-order in Australia – albeit exclusively from the Microsoft store.

The devices themselves will not begin shipping until late November, with the Development Edition costing $4,369, and the Commercial Suite priced at $7,269.

Australia is one of six markets around the world to see the augmented reality headset go on sale, with New Zealand, France, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom also getting the ability to pre-order the device.

The company said it has received increasing interest in the headset and its accompanying software from developers, commercial customers, and partners in Australia and further afield.

Microsoft first announced HoloLens in January 2015 and shipped to developers and commercial partners in Canada and the United States on March 31, 2016.

In June, the company said that Windows Holographic will come to Windows 10 PCs and head-mounted displays, giving users a “mixed-reality” experience.

All holographic apps are Universal Windows apps, and all Universal Windows apps can be made to run on the Windows Holographic platform, according to Microsoft.

“This means the investments that developers of all shapes and sizes make today will take advantage of the growing ecosystem of Windows Holographic devices,” the company said in a statement.

Pre-order sales for the HoloLens in Australia come as research firm, Telsyte, predicts that up to 115,000 virtual reality units will be sold in Australia in the second half of calendar 2016 alone. In 2017, the number VR headset sales looks set to balloon to 500,000 units, according to the research firm.

It should be noted that HoloLens is, technically speaking, an augmented reality device, and is not factored into Telsyte’s VR forecasts.

However, Telsyte estimates that 46 per cent of VR unit sales in Australia will be console-based systems, 46 per cent mobile VR, and the remaining eight per cent PC-based systems.

Telsyte suggests that video gaming will be a key driver for the adoption of VR in Australia, with 76 per cent of those interested in buying a VR unit indicating that they want to purchase a VR device to have an enhanced gaming experience.

Meanwhile, 66 per cent of Telsyte survey respondents indicated that they were interested in applications other than gaming, including movies, education, sports viewing, events, and e-commerce.

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