Today, Microsoft Corp. announced that Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained holographic computer running Windows 10, is now available for pre-order in select markets in Europe – France, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom – with devices shipping later this year.

The news comes during a time when HoloLens is experiencing tremendous support and demand from developers and commercial customers and partners around the globe. In addition to these four European markets, HoloLens is also now available for pre-order in Australia and New Zealand.

“Since the launch of HoloLens we have seen really passionate developers and world-class companies develop ground breaking computing experiences, experiences only possible on HoloLens” said Alex Kipman, Technical Fellow, Microsoft Windows and Devices Group. “When we set out to pioneer the mixed reality category we knew that many of the best innovations would be discovered when others got their hands on the technology. It has been quite inspiring to see what our partners have built and what individual developers have created. Together, we have only scratched the surface for what mixed reality can do. I can’t wait to see what happens next as we welcome these new countries to our holographic landscape.”

Since its launch Microsoft has seen innovation happening across the board as a diverse set of companies and partners breaks new ground within their industries using HoloLens as a means to transform their business. Recent examples include:

Thyssenkrupp: “With elevators transporting over 1 billion people each day, we have a critical role to play in keeping cities moving. At thyssenkrupp, we are focused on leading the much-needed transformation of the global elevator industry to dramatically increase the efficiency and availability of elevators, and HoloLens is a key element in helping us achieve these goals,” said Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of thyssenkrupp Elevator. “The application of HoloLens in our operations can reduce service intervention times by up to four times, and such a feat was only made possible through our strong collaboration with Microsoft.”

Audi: “Audi is invested in leading the future of automotive design through the use of cutting edge technologies. A technology like Microsoft HoloLens could open up new opportunities for our services in many ways – from engineering reviews and collaboration to after sales scenarios and new ways of customer experiences – there are many use cases to be realized.”, said Jan Pflüger, Coordination Augmented & Virtual Reality at Audi IT. “HoloLens will help us improve service quality, cut time and costs required for maintenance, as well as combining it with a new way of customer communication. A mixed reality solution like HoloLens seems very promising in achieving these goals. We see an exciting future in this technology and look forward to expanding its use at Audi.”

NASA: Microsoft’s partnership with NASA brings mixed reality to space exploration and discovery, creating new experiences and educational opportunities for scientists and consumers alike. Together with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, they have created four groundbreaking mixed-reality applications. The OnSight project enables scientists to use HoloLens to “work on Mars” together, directly from their offices, allowing them a means to plan and, along with the Curiosity Mars Rover, conduct science operations on the Red Planet. By extending the OnSight project, in September NASA opened “Destination: Mars” at the Kennedy Space Center to the public, which allows visitors the only opportunity possible today to walk around the Red Planet, just as NASA scientists do today. The Sidekick project brought HoloLens to the International Space Station to enable station crews to get remote expert assistance when and where they need it, reducing crew training requirements and increasing the efficiency at which astronauts can work in space. The NASA team created the ProtoSpace HoloLens application to build the next generation of spacecraft and space rovers; the application brings 3-D spacecraft designs into the world to help improve the design process.

Airbus: “Airbus believes in mixed-reality technologies, which are already deployed within our products and processes. Microsoft HoloLens is a promising platform, bringing mobility and new ways to consume and link users with digital information. Following our co-development with Microsoft teams, the device is concretely being tested and challenged in various environments across the company to understand if the technology will meet our business expectations. It is a very exciting phase, and we are looking forward to sharing concrete results based on our investigation.”

Microsoft’s Mixed Reality movement is just beginning
Today, HoloLens customers are developing innovative solutions that are already having a material impact in their business, and they are the early adopters of mixed reality solutions that are poised for exponential growth in the years to come. According to IDC, “worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020.” Windows 10, which includes Windows Holographic, the platform that powers the mixed reality experiences so that people can perceive the world differently, break down barriers and bring the virtual world and the physical world together. In June at Computex, Microsoft announced that Windows Holographic is coming to devices of all shapes and sizes to create immersive virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality experiences. The development opportunity is significant – as all holographic apps are Universal Windows apps, and all Universal Windows apps can be made to run on the Windows Holographic platform. This means the investments developers of all shapes and sizes make today can, in the future, take advantage of the growing eco-system of Windows Holographic devices.

Microsoft HoloLens available to pre-order in new markets NOW
Microsoft Corp. first announced HoloLens in January, 2015 and shipped to developers and commercial partners in the United States and Canada on March 31, 2016. Microsoft HoloLens is now available to pre-order exclusively from the Microsoft Store in United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, with expected ship date later this year.

More about Microsoft HoloLens Developer Edition and Commercial Suite, and Windows Holographic can be found here.

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