Microsoft's Hololens is up for pre-order, here's hoping you can expense it

Dev kit for Redmond super-specs will set you back $3,000

Microsoft has opened up its Hololens augmented reality hardware for pre-order with a shipping date of March 30.

The Redmond giant said it would begin sending invitations to developers who pre-applied for the preview edition of the hardware. Those who get invites from Microsoft will now be able to fork over the $3,000 price tag for the hardware and receive their kit in late March or early April.

While the APIs for Hololens have already been released by Microsoft, this will mark the first time developers have had a chance to get their hands on the hardware outside of Microsoft's carefully-controlled demos.

Consumers, meanwhile, will have to wait a bit longer for info on when they will be able to get Hololens, and what they will be paying for it.

"Today represents a monumental step forward. This is the first step in our journey to consumers," wrote Microsoft technical fellow Alex Kipman.

"A step focused on our commercial partnerships and on supporting developers, who will help pave the way to consumer availability with amazing and new holographic experiences."

Unlike the crop of upcoming VR headsets that completely cover the user's field of vision, such as the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift or Sony's Project Morpheus, the Hololens functions as an augmented reality device that lets the user look around at their physical surroundings while superimposing graphics and text at specific locations.

This difference in function, combined with the hefty price tag for the hardware, will likely mean that, at least early on, Hololens will find itself with a much different set of applications and use cases than the gamer-centric Oculus Rift and other VR headsets.

Early applications of the headset have included tests with NASA aboard the International Space Station, gaming, and - as it's Microsoft - Skype. ®

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