Of course Microsoft will be doing its own implementation of its Edge browser for its HoloLens 2 augmented-reality headset. But Mozilla is all in, too, and has committed to doing a native implementation of its browser for the HoloLens 2 device.
Microsoft Technical Fellow and HoloLens founder Alex Kipman made that announcement during the debut of the HoloLens2 at Mobile World Congress on February 24. HoloLens apps are available from the Microsoft Store, just as they are on other Windows 10-based devices.
Microsoft didn’t reveal specific timing for the HoloLens 2 prototype of the Firefox Reality browser (nor for the updated version of the Edge browser based on Chromium for the device). But developers can preorder HoloLens 2 devices today. Standalone devices cost $3,500; subscription plans also are available for those who want to rent them. HoloLens 2 will ship later this year, officials said.
Update: It looks like Mozilla is spreading the love around. HTC announced Mozilla will be a partner for its Vive virtual reality system back in January.
During the HoloLens 2 reveal, Microsoft officials also got Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic who isn’t known to be Microsoft’s biggest fan, to make an appearance. Sweeney didn’t make any specific application announcements but did commit to supporting the HoloLens 2 platform at some point with its Unreal Engine 4. Sweeney credited Microsoft’s decision to commit to open app stores, web browsing, APIs and drivers on HoloLens 2 convinced him to back the device.
Update: Here’s Epic’s press release, which says “support for Microsoft HoloLens 2 will be coming to Unreal Engine 4 starting in May 2019.”
The new Azure Spatial Anchors service, also announced at Mobile World Congress, allows iOS, Android and HoloLens devices to share “anchored” holograms across platforms. This service could be how/where Microsoft extends its holographic platform into gaming territory. The Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March could be a potential launchpad for something like this, sources said.
Microsoft is positioning HoloLens 2 first and foremost as a business device. The company is hoping its customers will find the new price, new Azure services and growing family of Dynmaics 365 business applications for the HoloLens (and iOS/Android devices) will make it an appealing mobile/edge device for firstline workers in retail, manufacturing, automotive, medical and other vertical fields.
Microsoft’s spec sheet for its ARM-based HoloLens 2 headset is here.