What happened to the Microsoft Hololens?

Where to buy a Hololens
When will the next Hololens be available / released/ is coming out?

last update: 26th of March 2024 10:16 EST

First things first, what happened to the HoloLens and answers to the common questions about the device:
The Hololens is a successful product by Microsoft that is one of the most advanced mixed reality headsets. It is a step towards the future of mixed reality technology, and it is currently a 2nd generation device. The device is being sold directly by Microsoft, or one of its resellers. The Hololens 2 price is $3500 USD, and it is available in over 36 countries and for lease and rental in North America. You cannot get a free Microsoft HoloLens device. You can either buy it, lease it, or finance it. More information is available below on where to buy or finance the device. The HoloLens V1 or first generation, was first announced in 2015, and has been discontinued (do not get a Hololens 1 it is now obsolete). Currently we are on the 2nd generation of the HoloLens, or HoloLens 2. The 2nd generation is available only for commercial use, no consumer version available yet (although consumer can but if they want).
The Hololens device has NOT been discontinued, it is still being regularly updated from the software point of view (this month was last update) and in terms of production and availablity in new regions.

The HoloLens is a headset with transparent glasses that allows you to see digital 3d objects in your own space, also referred to as mixing reality. Mixed reality is the blending of the physical and digital words. The HoloLens is not connected by cables to a computer, so it is portable as it has its own processing and battery. So, it is a mobile device that sits on your head with see-through glasses. The HoloLens can detect your world and your hands so you can interact with 3d Digital object with your hands while maintaining presence in the physical world, since it has transparent glasses (as opposed to VR devices which are completely opaque, and you can not see the world around you). The HoloLens mainly appeals to businesses that are looking to stay on the cutting edge of the technology in adopting augmented reality for use in the workplace.

If you need free access to the Hololens for a demo trial, you can visit Microsoft showrooms or any of its official dealers and try the Hololens augmented reality experience using a special kiosk made specifically for that purpose. Microsoft has developed and made available a variety of demo applications, targeting a variety of industries, to showcase the potential use of the technology and to open up the possibilities of imagining a world that is mixed between the physical and the virtual. If you are in Montreal, QC, Canada, Contact us to give you a demo.

Microsoft has some certified service providers that are allowed to rent the Hololens. "Abcomrents" is one of the official rental partner for now in North America, and "Hartfordrents"" are another official Microsoft rental partner for the Hololens. The renting prices varies depending on the number of units requested and the rental duration. It must be added that rentals are only for businesses and are not available for individuals. Microsoft has also lately introduced a financing option for up to 3 years through "LiftForward" only available in the United States.

Even though the device cannot be free, developers are able to use the development tools and PC emulators for free to create apps for the mixed reality headset. The emulator will enable you to develop and test applications on your laptop or desktop using your keyboard or mouse. Initially developers needed game engines to make their HoloLens apps, but eventually non-game develoing envorinemnt have started to be released. Buildwagon is a web based development platform for the hololens. You can develop hololens 2 applications using Buildwagon in Javascript, using your own browser, and without installing anything. You can also start developing for the hololens without a hololens device, and just using a web based hololens emulator. Alternatively, Buildwagon Studio is a hololens app development company that could help you with your hololens development need: contact us to know more.

The following is a timeline of the HoloLens major events:
HoloLens First Generation Announced: Microsoft first announed the windows holographic project in January 2015, and its first version of its Hololens headset. It wasn't until the 29th of February 2016 that developers were able to pre-order the first version of the hololens for United Statas and Canada for $3000 USD. The devices developer edition started shipping by the end of March that year and a commercial edition was announced in 2017 for $5000 USD with the same hardware and few differences in the windows holographic OS. The HoloLens 1 had a modest demand that totaled about 50,000 devices by April 2018.

HoloLens First Generation Discontinued: The development version of the 1st Gen Hololens went out of stock in October 14, 2018. After selling thousands of the development edition at the price of 3000 USD per device, the Microsoft Hololens was out of stock. The 1st Gen Hololens commercial suite became also out of stock in December 14, 2018. The commercial suit was being sold at the online Microsoft store and certified resellers at the price of 5000 USD. Microsoft has reintroduced the development edition with similar functionality as the Hololens 2 commercial edition.

HoloLens 2 Announced: Hololens 2, code named Sydney, has been showcased in February 2019 at the MWC. The new HoloLens provided a better field of view, a more balanced device, with much more hand tracking capabilities. In addition, Hololens 2 has an eye tracking capability.

The HoloLens 2 started shiping on the 7th of November 2019, as announced during the Microsoft Ignite event, and its price is set to $3500 USD.
The HoloLens 2 Developer edition will have the same features as the commercial edition and at the same price, but with a $500 Azure credits and the ability of financing without interest for $99 per month. As per Microsoft representatives, the market was seeded with a small number of Hololens 2 devices to gather feedback.

HoloLens 2 Released: On the 12th of December 2019, Microsoft Hololens announced general availability of Hololens 2.

On the 14th of April 2020, Microsoft Hololens announced that they have delivered tens of thousands of devices to hundreds of enterprise customers.
It was also stated that they have started selling to those who have expressed interest on the Microsoft HoloLens website.

On the 19th of May 2020, Microsoft announced during Build 2020 that the Microsoft HoloLens 2 is currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Japan, China, the U.K. and the United States. In Addition, the HoloLens 2 is supporting 5G/LTE through USB dongle. It was also announced on the 2nd build day that anynone will be able to buy Microsoft HoloLens 2 online through the online Microsoft Store starting July 2020.

Where to buy the hololens:
Starting the 11th of June 2020, you can buy a Microsoft HoloLens 2 online if you are based in the US:
USA HoloLens 2 price USD $3,500.00: US online Microsoft store

Starting the 2nd of July 2020, the HoloLens 2 is now available to be purchased from the Microsoft store in the following countries:
Canada HoloLens 2 price CAD $4,749.00: Buy HoloLens in Canada
Germany HoloLens 2 Price 3.752,00 € inkl. MwSt.: Buy HoloLens in Germany
France HoloLens 2 Price 3 849,00 € TVA incluse: Buy HoloLens in France
Ireland HoloLens 2 Price €3,849.00 incl. VAT: Buy HoloLens in Ireland
Japan HoloLens 2 Price ¥422,180 (税込): Buy HoloLens in Japan
United Kingdom HoloLens 2 Price £3,349.00 incl. VAT: Buy HoloLens in UK
Australia HoloLens 2 Price AU$5,599.00 incl. GST: Buy HoloLens in Australia
New Zealand HoloLens 2 Price NZ$6,199.00 incl. GST: Buy HoloLens in New Zealand
China HoloLens 2 Price RMB 27,388.00: Buy HoloLens in China

Starting the 24th of September 2020, Microsoft announced that the HoloLens 2 is now available in Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. HoloLens 2 will also be available in South Korea later this fall.
Italy HoloLens 2 price 3.899,00 € incl. IVA: Buy Hololens in Italy
Netherlands HoloLens 2 price € 3.849,00 incl. btw: Buy Hololens in Netherland
Switzerland HoloLens 2 price CHF 3'799.00 inkl. MwSt.: Buy Hololens in Switzerland
Spain HoloLens 2 price 3.849,00 € incluido IVA: Buy Hololens in Spain
Austria HoloLens 2 price € 3 849,00 inkl. MwSt.: Buy Hololens in Austria
Sweden HoloLens 2 price 42.095,00 kr inkl. moms: Buy Hololens in Sweden
Finland HoloLens 2 price 3 899,00 €, sis. ALV:n: Buy Hololens in Finland
Norway HoloLens 2 price kr 38 390,00 inkl. mva: Buy Hololens in Norway
Denmark HoloLens 2 price 29.399,00 kr. inkl. moms: Buy Hololens in Denmark
Belgium HoloLens 2 price 3.849,00 € TVA incluse: Buy Hololens in Belgium
Portugal HoloLens 2 price 3 899,00 € incl. IVA: Buy Hololens in Portugal
Poland HoloLens 2 price 16 699,00 zł zaw. VAT: Buy Hololens in Poland
Singapore HoloLens 2 price SG$5,388.00 incl. GST: Buy Hololens in Singapore
Hong Kong Hololens 2 through Go VR immersive: Buy Hololens in Hong Kong
Taiwan Hololens 2 through Systex: Buy Hololens in Taiwan

HoloLens 2 Development Edition Released: On the 2nd of November 2020, Microsoft announced the availability of the HoloLens 2 Development Edition in the United States, with financing coming in early 2021. The HoloLens 2 Development Edition is coming next to Canada, Germany, France, UK, Ireland, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Italy.
As a reminder the HoloLens Development edition has the same hardware as the commercial one but can only be used for development purposes, it is price is also the same as the commercial one but has free $500 Azure credit and trial to developers' tools for few months and the possibility of financing.
On the 7th of December 2020, Microsoft announced the availability of the HoloLens 2 Development Edition in Canada, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
As a review HoloLens 2 development edition vs commercial edition:

  • HoloLens 2 development edition and HoloLens 2 commercial edition both have the same device (no difference in terms of hardware).
  • HoloLens 2 development edition and HoloLens 2 commercial edition both have the same price ($3500 USD).
  • HoloLens 2 development edition and HoloLens 2 commercial edition both have the same warranty.
  • HoloLens 2 development edition is limited to development purpose and does not have commercial use rights (can not be used commercially).
  • HoloLens 2 development edition purchase is limited to one device per purchase.
  • HoloLens 2 development edition includes $500 Azure credits and 3 months software trials (Unity pro + Pixyz Plugin).
  • HoloLens 2 development edition has the availability of financing (United Sates only starting March 2021).
Financing option: On the 26th of March 2021, Microsoft announced the availability of financing for the HoloLens 2 Development Edition (United States only). The financing plans have 0% interest and the following payment terms:

Monthly PaymentsNumber of Months
$97.2236 months
$116.6730 months
$145.8324 months
$194.4418 months
The Hololens 2 development financing is available through this link: Hololens 2 Financing (USA)
Few notes about the financing terms: The finance is available through LiftForward at a 0% interest rate and is limited to business customers located in the United states (expect Puerto Rico), subject to credit approval. At the end of the financing payments the device will be completely paid off and will be owned by the customer to keep.

HoloLens 2 Industrial Edition Released: On the 1st of February 2021, Microsoft announced the the HoloLens 2 Industrial Edition for pre-order in the same market as HoloLens 2 and shipment will of this edition will start in Spring 2021.
The HoloLens 2 Industrial edition has the similar hardware as the commercial edition but is built to support regulated environment, so it meets the particle emissions for clean room use standard (ISO 14644-1 Class 5) and the intrinsic safety standard (UL Class I, Division 2) for use in flammable conditions.
As a review HoloLens 2 Industrial edition vs commercial edition:
  • HoloLens 2 Industrial edition and HoloLens 2 commercial edition both are similar devices, but the industrial edition has certification for use in clean rooms and in environment or where flammables could exist (ISO 14644-1 class 5 and UL class 1 division 2 certification).
  • HoloLens 2 Industrial edition is more expensive ($4950 USD) than HoloLens 2 commercial edition ($3500 USD).
  • HoloLens 2 industrial edition has two years warranty whereas the HoloLens 2 commercial edition has only 1 year warranty.
  • HoloLens 2 industrial edition is part of the rapid replacement program so it could be replaced faster than the commercial device.

On the 23rd of July 2021, few more countries were added to the hololens 2 supported market:
South Korea Hololens 2 through Korea CIM: Buy Hololens in South Korea
Thailand Hololens 2 price 149,900 THB inc Vat. through Sustainable Solution: Buy Hololens in Thailand
Vietnam Hololens 2 through Hiverlab: Buy Hololens in Vietnam
Malaysia Hololens 2 through Studio 249: Buy Hololens in Malaysia

On the 1st of December 2021, few more countries were added to the hololens 2 supported market:
Mexico Hololens 2 through Ingram Micro Mexico SA de CV : Buy Hololens in Mexico
India Hololens 2 through Softline : Buy Hololens in India
South Africa Hololens 2 through Datacentrix : Buy Hololens in South Africa

On the 20th of July 2022, the first middle eastern country was added to the hololens 2 market:
United Arab Emirates (UAE) Hololens 2 through Redington group : Buy Hololens in UAE

On the 25th of February 2023, one more country was added to the hololens 2 supported market:
Colombia Hololens 2 through Impresistem SAS: Buy Hololens in Colombia

On the 20th of March 2023, one more country was added to the hololens 2 supported market:
Brazil Hololens 2 through Ingram Micro do Brasil LDA: Buy Hololens in Brazil

On the 16th of May 2023, one more country was added to the hololens 2 supported market:
Saudi Arabia through Al Falak Electronic Equipment & Supplies Co.: Buy Hololens in Saudi Arabia

All other countries: Click here if your business wants to buy a HoloLens in any another country

How many Hololens have been sold: In 2018: it was reported that 50,000 HoloLens 1 were sold (As referenced by the European Patent Office presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvOnZW4nAuQ&t=279s). In 2020: During Mixed reality developer's day, Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman has announced that Hololens has 7x more demand than the HoloLens 2018 figures. So, that is a total of ~ 350,000 units in 2020 (source: https://youtu.be/TvVAXyiR3LY?t=878). In 2021: it was announced that the Microsoft U.S. Army contract is for more than 120,000 Hololens devices (source: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/31/microsoft-wins-contract-to-make-modified-hololens-for-us-army.html). So the total hololens devices sold, as per the available public sources, is around 520,000 devices.

HoloLens 3 and Future Outlook: Regarding the HoloLens 3 release date: Microsoft have not released any release date yet regarding the 3rd version of the HoloLens or HoloLens 3. On the 14th of May 2021, Microsoft Technical Fellow, Alex Kipman announced on an interview with WSJ some information about HoloLens 3 and confirmed that Microsoft is working on a consumer version of the HoloLens. Alex stated that:" it is always about 3 things: how we improve the immersion of the product, how we improve the comfort, and how we increase the value of what you can accomplish with the device:"

  • On the immersion side, it is how do you make the hololens 3 so that you get the feeling of the hologram to be more instinctual. So, you can feel like what touching a hologram feels like or manipulating a hologram feels like, in addition to higher quality imagery, higher contrast, working in brighter and brighter environments and darker environments.
  • On the comfort side, there is two tracks: the goggle track and the glasses track. The goggle track is one about how to make the HoloLens 3 goes to more places by making it more ruggedized, so it works in very rough environments. The glasses track or the HoloLens consumer product, it is how to make the hololens more comfortable, like a pair of glasses, smaller in size that is more socially acceptable. That has to decreases at least 5x the weight than the current version and consume 4x less energy (below 90g and lower than 2 watts of consumption and this will take some time to achieve).
  • On the value side, how to have ready-made experiences and solutions for a given industry, so there is value out of the box for everyone. Especially as people do not buy devices, they buy experiences.
  • (Source: https://www.wsj.com/video/events/microsoft-alex-kipman-how-ar-will-change-the-way-we-work/2229EAC5-56BD-4D3E-BEF4-BBBD664B3F0B.html).

In February 2022, rumors have spread, mainly from one source, about the cancelation of HoloLens 3 release and the split of the hololens between a consumer-based product tethered to Samsung smartphones and an enterprise version with the similar form factor as HoloLens 2. few statements from Microsoft have refuted these rumors:
  • Frank Shaw: HoloLens is “a critical part of our plans for emerging categories like mixed reality and the metaverse. We remain committed to HoloLens and future HoloLens development.”
  • Alex Kipman: “Don’t believe what you read on the internet. HoloLens is doing great and if you search said internet, they also said we had cancelled HoloLens 2, which last I checked we shipped with success.”
In February 2023, more rumors have spread mainly based on Microsoft layoffs that included a number of mixed reality employees including key people. Statements from Microsoft have refuted these rumors:
  • Robin Seiler is the Corporate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Devices at Microsoft: “The intent of this note is to help provide clarity to this community on our commitment to HoloLens 2 and the broader Mixed Reality program. We continue to produce and support HoloLens 2, inclusive of monthly software updates to ensure our enterprise customers can leverage HoloLens 2 and the supporting platform to complete critical work.”
    [February 02, 2023 source:https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/mixed-reality-blog/microsoft-committed-to-hololens-2-and-mixed-reality/ba-p/3732405]
  • Corey Sanders is the Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Cloud for Industry: “Our commitment to HoloLens 2 and Microsoft Dynamics 365 mixed reality apps remains strong as the team continues to innovate in both hardware and software to deliver immersive experiences.”
    [February 13, 2023 source:https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/industry/blog/manufacturing/2023/02/13/industrial-metaverse-the-data-driven-future-of-industries/]
In February 2024, Microsoft reiterated its dedication to the HoloLens platform and introduced the HoloLens Loaner Program for its mixed reality partners. This innovative program allows partners to borrow HoloLens devices, thereby enabling them to demonstrate the advanced capabilities and potential of mixed reality to their clients. This strategic move comes especially at a time when the HoloLens, as a mixed reality device, maintains a significant technological lead, being years ahead of competitors like the Apple Vision Pro, which, while positioned in the market, essentially remains a VR headset with passthrough capabilities. This announcement closely follows the notable entry of the Apple Vision Pro into the mixed reality scene.

OS Latest Build: March 2024 - Windows Holographic Build 22621.1266 reference: Hololens Windows Holographic latest release

Our Opinion:
In our opinion, we expect the Hololens 3 to be skipped for commercial use in favour for a new device using new technology. The biggest problem with the hololens 2 is its laser beam scanning display technology, the technology is not very stable, the resolution is not that good with a rainbow coloring effect. Although a version of the HoloLens 3 is currently used in the army, with a bigger field of view, We expect that the HoloLens 3 release will be skipped and that we will jump directly to the HoloLens 4. The HoloLens 4 will use a different technology then the hololens 2 laser beam technology, which will enable a better resolution, a slimmer device, better battery live, with the same field of view, probably using MicroLed technology. If we want to speculate about a date of release for the Hololens 3 (or Hololens 4) it would be, not earlier than, february 2025.

Related information:
Learn how to develop for hololens in Javascript.

Learn more about hololens development.

Learn more about the hololens.