On Monday, at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced its intent to make the Kinect for Windows hadware available come February 1st.On that day, the new sensor will be available for purchase in a number of 12 countries around the world, namely the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
Also on February 1st, Microsoft will make available for download the necessary development tools for developers interested in coming up with applications that can take advantage of the new Kinect.
In the beginning available only in limited quantities, Kinect for Windows will be pushed to the shelves of various resellers and distributors at a price tag of $249 (around 195 Euros).
“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,” Craig Eisler, general manager, Kinect for Windows, explains.
Moreover, the company plans on making the hardware available for Qualified Educational Users at a special academic pricing of around $149 (117 Euros).
With Kinect for Windows, Microsoft plans to expand the use of this technology beyond the living room. Moreover, it aims at delivering new features to it on an ongoing basis. One of these capabilities is the “near mode” that was announced several weeks ago.
Kinect for Windows will arrive on shelves with support for applications developed for Windows 7, as well as for desktop applications aimed at the Windows 8 Developer Preview. Gesture and voice on Windows Embedded-based devices will also be supported.
“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,” Craig Eisler notes.
The SDK and the runtime that come along with Kinect for Windows will be offered for free. Both developers and users will be able to download and install them.
“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,” Eisler continues.
Microsoft encourages all developers to take advantage of the new Kinect for Windows hardware and of the software that accompanies it. However, those who would like to continue using the SDK and the Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware will be able to do so.
On the other hand, the company notes that non-commercial deployments using Kinect for Xbox 360 will not be allowed with the new SDK. All deployments will have to be tested with the Kinect for Windows hardware and software platform.
“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,” Craig Eisler concludes.