For a category-defining first-gen device introduced in early 2015, HoloLens has had a remarkably long lifespan. But it increasingly seems like 2019 could be the year that HoloLens 2 is revealed as official channels have now been weeks without stock of the original headset.

Microsoft initially launched HoloLens as a dev kit in early 2016 and later that year made it available in a ‘Commercial Suite’ edition that was positioned toward enterprises. Through 2017 and 2018 the company steadily grew the headset’s distribution channels and options: opening official third-party resales and rentals, expanding regional availability, offering a certified hard hat option for the headset, and launching first-party software tools for enterprise visualization and remote help. And to top it all off, Microsoft recently landed a $480 million defense contract to provide the US Army with AR headsets.

With so much momentum, it’s surprising to see that both the HoloLens Commercial Suite and Development Edition have been out of stock from Microsoft for what appears to be several weeks now. We reached out to the company to ask when stock is expected to return, but the company didn’t offer any timeline.

“Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition and Commercial Suite are out of stock and unavailable from Microsoft Stores. For customers looking to purchase HoloLens, please visit for a listing of HoloLens resellers as well as rental options,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Road to VR.

We looked into the official HoloLens reseller for the US and Canada, Insight, but found that HoloLens is out of stock there too.

HoloLens 2.0 to Put a Custom A.I. Chip at the Heart of Its On-board Processor

Three potential explanations seem most likely: 1) A major production disruption has stalled HoloLens supply, 2) Microsoft has had to divert all production to fulfill its new contract to supply AR headsets to the US Army, or 3) HoloLens 2 is near at hand.

#1 & #2 seem less likely, however, as one would think that Microsoft would readily offer up an explanation to assure enterprise customers that HoloLens will eventually be back in stock and they can resume AR operations.

With HoloLens now more than 2.5 years old, and the launch of its first real competitor—Magic Leap—earlier this year, #3 is starting to look increasingly plausible, especially considering how long HoloLens 2 seems to have been in development.

It was back in July of 2017 that Microsoft quietly said it was working on a new version of the HoloLens ‘HPU’ (holographic processing unit, the nerve center for the headset’s many external sensors), and that the newer chip was being “designed to work in the next version of HoloLens.” Earlier this year the company affirmed ongoing development of the headset (despite some rumors of discontinuation), and as recently as May confirmed that the new ‘Project Kinect for Azure’ module would be the sensor package in the next HoloLens.

It also seems unlikely that Microsoft would have pitched its first-gen HoloLens technology for the US Army contract—which aims to deliver 100,000 Microsoft-built AR headsets—especially considering that Magic Leap was also vying for the contract with its newer tech.

While 2019 seems increasingly likely for a HoloLens 2 introduction, there’s still some big questions up in the air about what exactly is next for the headset.

Knowing that Kinect for Azure will be on board clues us in to some of the headset’s sensing capabilities. Rumors are swirling that the next HoloLens could ditch its current Intel CPU in favor of a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, which would dovetail nicely with Microsoft’s increasing emphasis on ARM support for Windows 10. With an ARM chip and 4G connectivity rumored to be on board the next version, the use-cases for HoloLens could vastly expand.

Microsoft was remarkably quiet about the original HoloLens before its reveal, and the headset turned out to be well ahead of its time. Though a few concrete details have emerged for HoloLens 2, Microsoft has been similarly quiet this time around; we still know next to nothing about key factors like field of view, form-factor, size & weight, or even cost. Can the company make another leap forward with the next version of HoloLens? 2019 seems like the year we’ll find out.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • That would be great as HoloLens 1 is a lame gimmick.

    • brandon9271

      Gimmicky and too expensive.. just like Magic Leap.

      • jj

        well at least it was the first. the ml is just a blatant rip off

    • korebreach

      Hardly. From a gaming perspective, I would partially agree with you… for now. Any AR/VR system would be somewhat gimmicky for games, but still allow you to have new experiences that you can’t have any other way. However, in the architecture and construction business, HoloLens is far from a gimmick. Being able to visualize plans, show proposed alterations to clients, etc. is a huge capability that is only possible with HoloLens. Even in the consumer sector, HoloLens enables clients to design remodeling projects, for example, kitchens, and allows customers to modify designs to get the look they want before any construction begins. This greatly reduces rework and brings much more client satisfaction. Not bad for a “gimmick”.

      • brandon9271

        The commercial uses are where AR is really going to shine. I can think of 100 scenarios where folks could use it. Imagine a semi truck driver being able to turn around and look behind him and see through his trailer. AR could do that. Think about surgeons being able to see CT scans in realtime super imposed over a patient. AR would be great for assembly works, repair techs, pilots. It’s applications are endless. For gaming.. meh.. maybe cool board games and laser tag.. and SUPER advanced LARPing. lol

        • Smokey_the_Bear

          exactly, AR’s potential is enormous. This isn’t lost on Microsoft.

    • NooYawker

      And the thing has been around for over 2 years and it’s as good as Magic Leap.

      But I wouldn’t go as far as to say Hololens is a gimmick, but they didn’t put that much work into it.

    • Sai

      It’s going to shine in industrial spaces, not in gaming. VR is best for gaming, but AR/MR is extremely useful for manufacturing. Suffice it to say that the best decision Microsoft made was to make sure the Hololens met the ANSI certification specs for safety glasses. That alone sets them apart from every other AR manufacturer on the planet.

  • Cool, even if the fact that supplies are ended are not a good sign for enterprises that want to adopt the technology… Magic Leap could exploit this moment.

    Furthermore there are delays in the development of the new HoloLens OS, so I don’t see the release of HoloLens 2 anytime soon

  • Smokey_the_Bear

    CES starts January 8th, but I don’t think Microsoft does much at CES anymore. Mainly because competition for headlines, is just too stiff. The OG Hololens was unveiled a couple weeks after CES 15′. I’d wager the same will happen in 2019.

  • Fourfoldroot

    Great to see tech advancing. MS seriously need to expand the window in which AR images are visible across the device however. Especially for any gaming applications. Obviously gaming isn’t MS’ priority with this though, VR kicks the arse of AR from a gaming perspective. Hopefully we get closer to the single device being able to do both in the near future though; VR for gaming and entertainment and VR fr enterprise and information.