Kinect for Windows coming next month
Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer with sidekick American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest , went on for more than an hour in his last Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote.He talked about a powerful new Windows Smartphones..Tablets and Ultrabooks..and of course a look at Windows 8 coming at the end of the year.
Only at the very end did Ballmer talk about the the biggest of all the things he had to say:
“I’m thrilled to announce that Kinect is coming to Windows on February 1,” Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said in his final keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which opens in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
“We’re already working with over 200 companies on unique Kinect for Windows applications,” including American Express, Mattel, Telefonica, Toyota and the United Health Group, he told a packed ballroom at the Venetian hotel on Monday.
“The breadth of what they’re doing is mind-blowing,” Ballmer said, without providing further details.
Microsoft’s Kinect blog had a few more details:
The incredible amount of innovation on Kinect for Xbox 360 this past year shows the potential for Kinect as a platform for developers and businesses to build new and innovative offerings. Along with many others, we have only begun to explore the potential of this amazing technology. This proliferation of creative and imaginative new ideas for Kinect, which we call the Kinect Effect, will expand even further with our commercial release of Kinect for Windows.
Today, we are announcing that the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1st, 2012 in 12 countries (United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom), at a suggested retail price of US $249. Kinect for Windows hardware will be available, in limited quantities at first, through a variety of resellers and distributors. The price includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking, and our continued investment in Kinect for Windows-based software advancements. Later this year, we will offer special academic pricing (planned at US $149) for Qualified Educational Users.
We love the innovation we have seen built using Kinect for Xbox 360 – this has been a source of inspiration and delight for us and compelled us to create a team dedicated to serving this opportunity. We are proud to bring technology priced in the tens of thousands of dollars just a few years ago to the mainstream at extremely low consumer prices. And although Kinect for Windows is still value-priced for the technology, some will ask us why it isn’t the same price as Kinect for Xbox.
An interesting question..one no doubt many will ask. Microsoft answers that Kinect for Xbox 360 is in large part subsidized by consumers buying a number of Kinect games, subscribing to Xbox LIVE, and making other transactions associated with the Xbox 360 ecosystem. The company claims with Kinect for Windows it is investing in creating a platform that is optimized for scenarios beyond the living room, and delivering new software features on an ongoing basis, starting with “near mode” which enables the depth camera to see objects as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device without losing accuracy or precision, with graceful degradation down to 40 centimeters. he Windows version will also have a shorter USB cable and include a small dongle to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals.
Microsoft has sold over 18 million Kinect for Xbox 360 devices..will developers produce compelling enough software to make it a success on the Windows platform. What do you think?