Kinect for Windows Available on February 1

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 January 2012 12:10 Written by admin Tuesday, 10 January 2012 12:09

At the end of this month, Windows users in 12 markets worldwide will be able to start buying Kinect for Windows. That’s right, a new flavor of the NUI (natural user interface) sensor tailored to Windows PCs, a newer version of Kinect for Xbox 360, which already sold in excess of 18 million units.
 
In case you didn’t watch Steve Ballmer’s CES 2012 keynote address, this was the only piece of news worthwhile.
 
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.
 
The ability to sell Kinect for Xbox 360 at its current price point 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. In addition, the Kinect for Xbox 360 was built for and tested with the Xbox 360 console only, which is why it is not licensed for general commercial use, supported or under warranty when used on any other platform.
 
With Kinect for Windows, we are 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” (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. We are building the Kinect for Windows platform in a way that will allow other companies to integrate Kinect into their offerings and we have invested in an approach that allows them to develop in ways that are dependable and scalable.
 
We have chosen a hardware-only business model for Kinect for Windows, which means that we will not be charging for the SDK or the runtime; these will be available free to developers and end-users respectively. As an independent developer, IT manager, systems integrator, or ISV, you can innovate with confidence knowing that you will not pay license fees for the Kinect for Windows software or the ongoing software updates, and the Kinect for Windows hardware you and your customers use is supported by Microsoft.
 
Although we encourage all developers to understand and take advantage of the additional features and updates available with the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software, those developers using our SDK and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware may continue to use these in their development activities if they wish. However, non-commercial deployments using Kinect for Xbox 360 that were allowed using the beta SDK are not permitted with the newly released software. Non-commercial deployments using the new runtime and SDK will require the fully tested and supported Kinect for Windows hardware and software platform, just as commercial deployments do. Existing non-commercial deployments using our beta SDK may continue using the beta and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware; to accommodate this, we are extending the beta license for three more years, to June 16, 2016.
 
We expect that as Kinect for Windows hardware becomes readily available, developers will shift their development efforts to Kinect for Windows hardware in conjunction with the latest SDK and runtime. The combination of Kinect for Windows hardware and software creates a superior development platform for Windows and will yield a higher quality, better performing experience for end users.
 
We are excited for the new possibilities that Kinect will enable on the Windows platform, and to see how businesses and developers reimagine their processes and their products, and the many different ways each Kinect could enrich lives and make using technology more natural for everyone.
 
Craig Eisler
General Manager, Kinect for Windows


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Microsoft Divorces from CES as of 2013

Last Updated on Thursday, 22 December 2011 08:16 Written by Mire_B Thursday, 22 December 2011 08:16

Microsoft and the Consumer Electronics Show no longer seem to have a future together. Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications, Microsoft confirmed officially that CES 2012 will be the last event keynoted by the Redmond software giant.

 

Microsoft’s divorce from CES will happen ahead of 2013, with the company no longer keynoting the technology show, and not even having a booth opened to visitors.

 

Personally, I wouldn’t expect any major announcements from Microsoft for CES 2012 which happens in less than a month, even if the opening keynote will be delivered by Steve Ballmer.

 

Our industry moves fast and changes faster. And so the way we communicate with our customers must change in equally speedy ways. To ensure it does, we constantly challenge our assumptions. For example:

· What’s the right time and place to make announcements?

· Are we adjusting to the changing dynamics of our customers?

· Are we doing something because it’s the right thing to do, or because “it’s the way we’ve always done it”?

After thinking about questions like these, we have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES. We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing.

As we look at all of the new ways we tell our consumer stories – from product momentum disclosures, to exciting events like our Big Windows Phone, to a range of consumer connection points like Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft.com and our retail stores – it feels like the right time to make this transition.

Microsoft has enjoyed a close to 20-year working relationship with the Consumer Electronics Association – and we look forward to working with CEA for many years to come.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on Monday night, January 9th, to kick the year off at CES 2012.


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