HoloLens is Microsoft's 5-year plan to conquer augmented reality computing, dev kits due next year

During the Salesforce Dreamforce conference, Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella sat down for some Q&A with the host of the event. One of the big topics was HoloLens, specifically when and for who?

Nadella laid out a few ideas for HoloLens and used a few interesting phrases like "category creation moment" and referred to the technology as "mind blowing". When pressed on when HoloLens will be released, Nadella reasserted that the dev kits will come "by next year, for sure" but was quick to caution that HoloLens is on a "five year journey".

Indeed, creating a new category in computing is not something you do overnight. Too many companies have been burned by rushing to market new hardware that failed to impress audiences. Microsoft needs to approach HoloLens with caution and not overexuberance. Testing it, working with developers to create content, reduction in pricing, and figuring out target markets are all key to its success.

Considering Microsoft appears to be miles ahead in this technology than anyone else, they certainly do have the time – and resources – to do this right.

I tried the near-finalized version of HoloLens, this is what I think

In terms of who HoloLens is for, Nadella quickly noted that enterprise are the initial target audience, something Nadella talked about back in July. Nadella noted that "single application use" like Auto CAD and scenarios for "architecture, industrial design" and health care were all likely users as well.

Microsoft will try again to send two HoloLens headsets into space in December {.cta}

Regarding gaming, Nadella said that category will be "reimagined" with HoloLens and was quick to point out the differences between HoloLens (augmented reality) versus virtual reality like Oculus Rift. Even in that latter category, Microsoft has a leg up as Oculus Rift will use Windows 10 machines and even a Xbox One controller. Still, there appears to be awhile to go before consumers will be donning a HoloLens to play an Xbox Live game.

What to expect from Microsoft's Windows 10 devices event in NYC

Windows Central has heard that HoloLens could be one of the reveals at Microsoft's October event, specifically an announcement on pricing and limited availability. We'll be covering the event to see what takes place.

Watch the 4-minute video clip of Nadella's remarks and tell us what you think.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.