Microsoft HoloLens 2 adds 5G support and is getting easier to buy

From CNET: Augmented reality and virtual reality have suddenly become more relevant in a world where people can't meet in person as easily. Devices such as Microsoft's HoloLens 2 would seem to be in prime position for a key role. Microsoft's mixed-reality news at its now-virtual annual Build developer conference is, not surprisingly, HoloLens-focused. While the company continues to slowly build out its larger-scale AR cloud tools, the HoloLens 2 is now getting 5G support... with a dongle.

Microsoft's director of mixed reality, Greg Sullivan, went over the changes that are coming, including availability for the expensive HoloLens 2. Microsoft hasn't provided specific sales numbers for the HoloLens 2 since its launch last November, but the hardware will be available in more countries this year: It's coming to the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan by the fall. Microsoft will also sell the HoloLens 2 in its online Microsoft Store this summer. But note that the hardware is still intended for businesses, not the general public.

Microsoft's AR-enabling cloud services, which are being improved gradually, are arguably even more important than the HoloLens 2 itself. The company's Azure spatial anchors (real-time collaborative AR with objects that are shared in real locations, which Minecraft Earth uses), are now in wide release. Microsoft's cloud-rendering tools, which promise to deliver more detailed graphics and models in AR headsets by linking up with high-powered remote servers, have moved to public preview. I saw the potential of both when I visited Microsoft's headquarters last year to try the HoloLens 2.

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