Dell announces partnership with AR headset-maker Meta to start selling its dev kit

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Dell is about to start selling an augmented reality headset that seeks to rival Microsoft’s HoloLens.

The $1,495 augmented reality headset dev kit comes from the startup Meta and will soon be available for purchase on Dell’s website. It had previously only been available for order on Meta’s site. Interestingly, Dell detailed in a press release that they’ll be selling bundles that include the tethered headset and a PC, suggesting that this partnership is growing much deeper than a couple of demos and a spot on their online store.

Sales on Dell.com will begin February 15.

Meta has stayed awfully quiet on product developments as it continues to keep delivering a backlog of Meta 2 development kits that it first started taking pre-orders for the headset nearly two years ago; this partnership suggests most of these woes are behind it. The company has indeed lost some of its early mover’s advantage as the result of manufacturing challenges, even as its amassed more cash. It polished up a $50 million Series B this past June.

Meta in action (PRNewsfoto/Dell)

The Meta 2 headset’s wide field-of-view and tethered nature make it much more ideal for AR developers to visualize content without restrictions, but the Meta 2’s design also sort of punts some of augmented reality’s most significant hardware challenges down the field. In order to become an appealing consumer product, Meta will have to rethink quite a bit.

While the Y Combinator-backed startup’s competitors have been just as sluggish in some respects, the fact that fundraising juggernaut Magic Leap has managed to share what its product will actually look like while reports simultaneously emerge that Apple is hard at work on an AR headset for delivery in 2019/2020 shows that the field is definitely getting more crowded.

This partnership adds some very positive visibility to Meta, which has been very vocal on the ability of its headset to replace workstations, something Dell’s customers may prove interested in once the device exits the development phase.

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