They said it would happen and it is. The Kinect that has sold some 18 million units for Xbox 360 is coming for Windows. This announcement was posted on the Kinect for Windows Team blog.
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.
If you don’t know what Kinect is … well it first appeared for Xbox 360 and allows you to become the controller. That’s right, it scans your entire body and tracks your movements. It can also accept voice commands. For example, when I watch media on my Xbox/TV, I use voice commands to start the video player. There has been some criticism of Kinect. The Xbox version requires a lot of clear space in front of the TV and that’s a bit of an issue for those of us not living in McMansions. There is also a little bit of lag/inaccuracy in it’s movement detection. But that was version 1 technology. Would you compare a V1 iPod with what you can buy now?
The Kinect for Windows blog states that they have:
… optimized for scenarios beyond the living room, and delivering new software features on an ongoing basis, starting with “near mode” (see my earlier blog post for more about this). In addition to support for Windows 7 and the Windows 8 developer preview (desktop apps only), Kinect for Windows will also support gesture and voice on Windows Embedded-based devices and will enhance how data is captured and accessed within intelligent systems across manufacturing, retail and many more industries.
The SDK for developing Kinect for Windows software will be free and licensed for business use. That will encourage innovation.
It looks like this supports Windows 7 and Windows 8. When will it be available? You don’t have long to wait: February 1st, 2012. You can pre-order now on Amazon for $249.99.