Microsoft HoloLens not a toy until price point falls below $1,000
Microsoft's Alex Kipman says HoloLens will be released as a consumer device, but not until the price falls
Microsoft wants HoloLens to reach the consumer market but only if the price is right.
Since the HoloLens was released by Microsoft two years ago, the company has framed the augmented reality headset as a "tool for the enterprise."
But in an interview with CNET, Alex Kipman, principle creator of HoloLens and Kinect technologies addressed the future of the headset.
"Are there plans for this thing being a non-dev kit? Abso-freakin-lutely," he said.
Despite his enthusiasm, Kipman said that while roadmaps for this plan already exist, he would not discuss them at this time. He stressed a consumer version would be some time off, saying there was little point asking for a shipping date until the price falls significantly.
"You have to reduce the price point until it's affordable to the majority of the populous of the earth, which will be under $1,000 and then some to get there," he explained.
Currently, there are two options for purchasing the HoloLens: the Developer's Kit for $3,000, and the corporate-focused Commercial Suite for $5,000.
Given those costs, reaching that $1,000 price point may be a challenge for HoloLens, but rival products are already less expensive. Osterhout Design Group's R-7 Smart Glasses are available for $2,750, while RideOn Goggles are an athletic AR system available for $1,199. The Vuzix M1000 AR headset runs for $1,000, a competitive price due to the glasses' sleek nature. Less technically advanced AR and VR systems are also on the market using smartphones as the hardware, such as Google Cardboard.
Plus, there are already VR competitors in the consumer market that run at prices hovering around $500 and below, which may prove a challenge if the HoloLens were to target consumer sales.