Much of the excitement around the HoloLens 2 has moved on to many wondering when we'll finally be able to get our hands on what is now the best augmented reality device on the market.
In the meantime, Microsoft has decided to introduce a new package called the HoloLens 2 Development Edition, which comes bundled with a couple of valuable software add-ons from Unity, as well as an opportunity to save some cash on your Azure usage.
"With the original HoloLens, Unity was the number tool people used to build apps, so for HoloLens 2, Microsoft and Unity wanted to make it really easy for developers, when they buy the Development Edition, to be really successful right away at creating something," Tim McDonough, vice president at Unity, told Next Reality.
The HoloLens 2 Development Edition package includes two tools from Unity, Unity Pro and the PiXYZ Plugin, a tool that allows users to import and manipulate detailed CAD file data into Unity.
However, the software isn't exactly free. Instead, buyers will receive a free three-month trial for both Unity Pro and the PiXYZ Plugin, allowing them enough time to determine if they're willing to invest more in the software platforms. After the trial, Unity Pro will cost $125 per month ($1,500 per year), and the PiXYZ Plugin sells for $1,150 per year, so the package saves new users hundreds of dollars (about $660) in the short term.
For those who have already pre-ordered the standard HoloLens 2 package, you can easily switch to the Development Edition, but you'll first need to join the Mixed Reality Developer Program (which is free).
If you haven't already pre-ordered the HoloLens 2, the bad news is that you can't pre-order the Development Edition today. Later this year, Microsoft will contact all HoloLens 2 pre-order customers before the final sale and ask which version they'd like to purchase.
Overall, the HoloLens 2 Development Edition will cost $3,500 per device or $99 per month for members of Microsoft's Mixed Reality Developer program. Additionally, buyers of the HoloLens 2 Development Edition will also snag $500 in free Azure credits.
"Unity was sort of born as a development tool for games, but we've expanded beyond that. We now have an entire team that works with industrial customers," said McDonough.
"For somebody who is a first-time HoloLens purchaser, and wants to be successful out of the box, and really get an opportunity to save some money at the same time, there's pretty strong value here. And the three months free trial is enough time to mess around and get some projects up and running and really prove to yourself that AR is worth the investment."