Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has revealed that the HoloLens augmented reality headset will be released next year.
Nadella outlined the schedule for the release of early versions of HoloLens, which will be aimed at developers and enterprises, during an appearance on the BBC's Click programme.
"We will have a developer version of it first, then it will be more commercial use cases, then it will evolve," said Nadella.
"This is a five-year journey, but we are looking forward to getting [version one] out, which is more around developers and enterprises. It's in the Windows timeframe which means [its release] is within the next year."
Nadella appeared to suggest that Microsoft wants to position HoloLens as a business technology tool during its first release, rather than a device aimed initially at the consumer market.
Consumers hungry for augmented reality with a Microsoft flavour will have to wait until developers have had time to tinker with HoloLens.
Microsoft has demonstrated HoloLens to audiences at various conferences this year, but the technology is very much at the early stage and is arguably not beyond a prototype.
The next stage of HoloLens is likely to see a more portable and streamlined headset to realise the slick use of HoloLens Microsoft has presented in a promotional video (below).
Microsoft will no doubt keep a keen eye on Google Glass, which failed to see mass adoption despite targeting the consumer market and teaming up with Intel to attract enterprises.
Success is likely to involve currying favour with developers, something Google Glass failed to do.
Microsoft has a lot on its plate this year, having recently released Windows 10, which has seen 14 million machines upgrade to the latest Windows operating system already.
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