Acer and Hewlett Packard (HP) have opened pre-orders for their Windows Mixed Reality headsets, offering access to Microsoft's technology for a fraction of the price of the flagship HoloLens headset.
Designed as an augmented, rather than virtual, reality system, Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality platform first arrived on the company's own HoloLens. Sadly, its pricing kept it out of the hands of many: At $3,000 for the HoloLens Development Edition
and with no consumer version available, the HoloLens has thus far failed to set the world alight while rival virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR (PSVR) dominate the public's consciousness.
Now, though, two partner companies have officially opened pre-orders for their wares - albeit, like the HoloLens Development Edition, only in North America. Acer's Windows Mixed Reality headset is priced at $299 standalone or $399 with motion-tracking controllers (approximately £232 and £310 respectively, excluding taxes); HP's equivalent, meanwhile, is priced at $329 with no controller bundle available (approximately £256 excluding taxes).
Those prices come with some cutbacks from Microsoft's HoloLens vision, however. Where HoloLens augments reality by having the user view the world through a transparent display which can overlay virtual objects at will, both Acer and HP's equivalents are more traditional screen-based virtual reality devices which rely on front-facing cameras for both motion tracking and augmented reality applications.
Both headsets are expected to formally launch this summer, though international availability did not form part of either companies' announcements. In both cases, the companies are targeting developers rather than end-users; thus far no date has been offered for a commercial launch.