Microsoft discounts HoloLens 2 devices for educators

Far from cheap but discounts could put HoloLens in closer reach for schools


The HoloLens 2 has been around long enough some might see a reduction in the often-cited high pricetag. In this case, it's educational institutions eligible for a 10 percent price cut.

Customers with long memories might remember something similar happening with HoloLens 1 shortly before the augmented reality visor was replaced by its updated sequel.

HoloLens 2

The Reg strokes a talon across the HoloLens 2 and Surface Hub 2S

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The discount applies to the still eye-wateringly expensive HoloLens 2 development edition, which retails at $3,500 and includes goodies such as $500 of Azure credits and a three-month Unity Pro license in the bundle.

Microsoft reckons that the headsets will "augment teaching with virtual collaboration and instructional experience" and, as is its wont, brought forth the specter of COVID-19 and hybrid learning.

While the mixed reality experience is certainly impressive (we took one for a spin shortly after launch in 2019 and found the experience a marked improvement over the original model), we can't imagine too many schools being willing or able to drop serious amounts of cash on the devices and, worse, permit students to walk out of the door with them. Not when one could probably equip an entire class with Chromebooks for not much more.

As if to emphasize the point, Microsoft cited Case Western University, a Cleveland, OH institution, as a customer where the devices had proven useful via a custom app called "HoloAnatomy."

The University reported that students using the app scored 50 percent better on retention tests and needed 40 percent less class time. Hardly a general purpose device.

The HoloLens has had its problems. The US Army put the brakes on a roll-out of the headsets last year and reports surfaced earlier this year suggesting that all was not well in Microsoft's department of Mixed Reality, something that HoloLens boss, Alex Kipman, was quick to deny.

Microsoft has also shipped the 22H1 version of Windows Holographic (HoloLens 2 only – HoloLens 1 stopped getting updates several years ago), including updates for Moving Platform Mode.

However the arrival of the 10 percent offer is a hint that a HoloLens 3, whatever form it may take, might be just around the corner. ®

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