The software company admits to selling only ‘thousands’ of their advanced AR headset, but claims that’s all they need.
It’s no secret that the Microsoft Hololens wasn’t exactly this year’s hottest product. The highly advanced augmented reality headset has been making waves with it’s impressive positional tracking and accurate hand gesture recognition, but a relatively clunky design and expensive price-tag have kept the high-end hardware out of most people’s hands. So when it was revealed that sales of the headset were in the ‘thousands’ it wasn’t exactly a huge surprise. What was surprising however was the pleasant reaction to the numbers by it’s own developers. And as it turns out, this might be the appropriate response.
During an interview with The INQUIRER at the BETT show in London this Thursday, Microsoft’s Hololens Commercial Lead, Roger Walkden, revealed the products humble sales figures, expressing that was all the company needed to accomplish at this time.
“We’re not trying to sell hundreds of thousands or millions or anything, it’s expensive, and it’s not in huge numbers. So we’re happy with the level of sales that we’ve got – I can’t tell you anything about the numbers, but it’s in thousands, not hundreds of thousands, and that’s fine. That’s all we need.”
“There’s a roadmap. I can’t tell you anything about it, though. [Microsoft] keep that kind of information way clear of me so that I don’t accidentally tell you anything.”
INQ questioned if the intended plan was to sit patiently until the materials required to build the hardware became cheaper, therefore lowering the price for consumers.
“Sure,” responded Walkden. “And you’re starting to see that with VR headsets already, so you probably noticed we released a whole bunch of OEM headsets for VR recently. Those are around that mark, and so I don’t know how far into the VR lifecycle we are – maybe two or three years from the very start of VR – so it does take years to get to that kind of position. But just remember this is version one, and there will be future versions.”
“I have no news for you on when those will be. But the roadmap does exist, and we know that at this point this is the only device we’ve got, and the only one we need in order to get people started on their journey.”
The Microsoft Hololens is available in two models; The Developmental Edition currently priced at $3,000 USD and the Commercial Suite (suitable for businesses and commercial use) priced at $5,000 USD.
It’ll be exciting to see what the future holds for the Hololens. For all its drawbacks the device does have an impressive amount of power under its hood capable of things we’ve yet to even discover. There’s no doubt that as the technology necessary to access this level of augmented reality becomes cheaper, Hololens will be leading the pack as the most accessible form of high-end AR.