CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again


Friday Poll: Which VR or AR system do you want most?

Microsoft throws its HoloLens hat into the augmented-reality ring and faces off against a set of competitors that includes Oculus, Samsung and Google. Which one do you want to strap to your face?

HoloLens promo
Micosoft wants to augment your reality with HoloLens. Microsoft

The future is almost now. Augmented-reality and virtual-reality headsets are real things, it's just a matter of refining the technology. A large volley has just been fired across the bow of the marketplace by Microsoft, which announced the HoloLens, an augmented-reality system that uses goggles to overlay virtual objects and information onto the real world around you.

The HoloLens is a bit different from the current leader in VR, the Oculus Rift. The Rift is built for immersive virtual-reality environments that pull you out of the place you're in and plunk you into a new one, like outer space or the top of a 47-story skyscraper. The HoloLens takes what you can already see and adds a new interactive layer of computer-generated data.

Microsoft and Oculus aren't the only players here. Samsung's Gear VR headset is designed to work with a Galaxy Note slotted in right before your eyes. Samsung's focus is on videos, photos and mobile games, whereas Oculus is already big into advanced gaming applications.

And let's not forget Google Glass. Google handed off Glass to Nest co-founder Tony Fadell in the hopes of revamping and revitalizing the head-mounted wearable. Glass has been embraced by fans and maligned by people concerned about the privacy implications of the device's camera or the general attitude of the people wearing Glass. Some Glass applications have dabbled in augmented reality. Glass with a makeover and a much lower price point than the $1,500 cost for early adopters could become quite a player in the AR space.

Though an exact release date and pricing details are unknown for now, Microsoft's HoloLens is expected to appear sometime this year. The HoloLens, Rift, Gear VR and Glass are all very different animals, but each brings us closer to a cool sci-fi world where computer interactions aren't limited to a monitor. Which one do you most want to have in front of your eyes? Vote in our poll and tell us about your choice in the comments.