Back at CES in Las Vegas, in the middle of Steve Ballmer’s rather dour keynote with Ryan Seacrest, he let slip that Kinect for Windows would be coming on 1 February. Well guess what, it’s the 1 February and Microsoft has kept Ballmer’s promise.
Microsoft has released the commercial version 1.0 of the Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) for the Kinect, as well as releasing the Kinect for Windows sensor, which looks practically identical to the Xbox 360 version, pricing it at $249 in the US and releasing it in 11 other countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and the UK).
Microsoft said that since the beta 2 was released last November, it has added a number of new features including the ability to hook up four Kinect sensors simultaneously to one PC and Near Mode, which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 40cm in front of the device.
Microsoft has also improved the skeletal tracking, including the ability for developers to control which user is being tracked by the sensor. The Kinect for Windows sensor itself looks just like the Xbox 360 version
Microsoft said it was planning on releasing updates to the SDK up to three times a year and the Kinect for Windows team is already working on the next release.
"By offering hardware and software that’s designed specifically for Windows applications, we hope to inspire visionaries around the world to create transformative breakthroughs with Kinect - taking its gesture and voice capabilities beyond the living room into other industries such as education, manufacturing, healthcare, and retail." Craig Eisler, general manager for Kinect for Windows said in a blog post.
In the coming year we expect to see not only software for Windows which will use the Kinect sensor but also the Kinect sensor technology actually built into OEM’s hardware for better integration and wider adoption.
Do you think Kinect for Windows will be as much of a success as the Xbox 360 version has been? Let us know what you think in the comments.