First Windows Mixed Reality dev kits will ship out this month

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Microsoft has announced that the first developer edition Windows Holographic mixed reality headsets will ship to developers and partners "later this month." Alongside that announcement, we got our first look at the headset itself, which is a unit from acer. Check it out below:

Here's a quick look at the specs of the headset Microsoft will be sending out to developers:

  • Two high-resolution liquid crystal displays at 1440 x 1440
  • Display refresh rate up to 90 Hz (native)
  • Built-in audio out and microphone support through 3.5mm jack
  • Single cable with HDMI 2.0 (display) and USB 3.0 (data) for connectivity

These are the first Windows Holographic VR headsets from HP, Dell, and more!

When headsets start shipping out to developers later this month, Microsoft says the kits will include the Acer headset, access to Windows 10 Insider preview build, documentation, and a dedicated SDK for building mixed reality apps. There's still no word on just when the headsets will make their way into consumer hands, but getting them out to developers is a big first step towards that goal.

On a final note, you may notice that the "Windows Mixed Reality" moniker is different from the Windows Holographic VR name Microsoft used when it revealed plans for the low-cost partner headsets in late 2016. That's no mistake, as a Microsoft spokesman confirmed to OnMSFT:

Microsoft renamed "Windows Holographic" to "Windows Mixed Reality" to be more encompassing of the company's broader vision for the platform. We're unifying the mixed reality ecosystem around a platform that enables shared experiences and interoperability between headsets. By opening up the Windows Mixed Reality platform to the industry at large, we anticipate the growth of holographic apps will make for stronger experiences and better devices for everyone.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • How are these different from the HoloLens?
  • They connect to a pc instead of being a stand alone headset. They use tech closer to the oculus rift.
  • 👍 Ah, thx, now I know!
  • It's nothing like Oculus. It's inside out and more about productivity than gaming. I'm sure games will get support... But this is going to be a virtual office.
  • They literally said in their announcement that these headsets and for gaming and media consumption while Hololens is aimed more for productivity and corporate environment.
  • You can't see the outside world while using these. These are Virtual Reality, while HoloLens is Augmented Reality.
  • Wait... Why is it called mixed reality then?
  • I think because the APIs are shared, so you can develop for both, but this exact headset is just VR.
  • That says it all. Was kinda unclear to me at first.
  • All the devices have cameras on the front Mic rosoft has licensed their Spatial mapping & positional tracking tech from Hololens to their OEMs. Hololens = 3D objects appear in your current enviornment OEMs mixed realtiy devices = 3D objects appear in a 3D recreation of your current enviornment Mixed reality example below...  
  • Because the device can "see" the external world using its sensors and applications can reproduce the real world using virtual elements, this is not possible with VR.    
  • It runs on Windows holographic. So instead of your room you will see a virtual room. It also uses inside out spacial tracking. So you will be able to map your room and have virtual objects represent physical objects... Which makes it nice reality.
  • They do not have a see through glass display like hololens but this headset has a camera, most likely, for that purpose.
  • O...M...G!
  • I hope this is a gift at BUILD. 😀
  • I read this all wrong, and was at first excited. What I read: "Windows 10 Mixed Reality will be available soon to Windows 10." I thought, 'awesome, now both my daughter and I will be able to use our Alcatel Idol 4S and its VR, finaly'. But, it's just the headsets.
  • I like the old name