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Kinect for Windows New Hardware and Software Available Starting February 1, 2012

Kinect for Windows SensorMicrosoft at the CES 2012 on January 9, in Las Vegas announced the 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).

Microsoft also revealed that the company has sold “18 million Kinect’s in the past year.”

Available at a suggested retail price of US $249, 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,” Microsoft stated.

The Kinect for Windows team GM, Craig Eisler notes “We’ve 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.”

“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,” Eislersaid.

Adding, he said “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,” added

The Kinect for Windows sensor looks (from pictures) almost identical to the Kinect for Xbox. But it is designed to work at closer range and to work with Windows 7/8 PCs. In addition to making firmware adjustments in the new Windows Kinect sensor, Microsoft also is shortening the USB cable and including of a “small dongle” to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals. The Windows version will modify the Kinect depth camera to see objects that are “as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device” without sacrificing accuracy or precision.

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.

Kicking It with Kinect: Iker Borbea of Naucalpan Mexico and Carlos Gorbea of Mexico City play a Kinect for Xbox 360 game in the Microsoft booth at CES on Jan. 10, 2012

CES 2012: Kinect for Xbox 360 demo

Kinect-Powered Virtual Fitting Room: Next at Microsoft blogger Steve Clayton uses Swivel, a new application from FaceCake, that uses Kinect for Windows to create a virtual fitting room in the Microsoft booth at CES on Jan. 10, 2012.

CES 2012: Kinect-powered Virtual Fitting Room

Also, shown was the “Printing Dress”. “In the What’s Next booth visitors can take a look at the creation from Asta Roseway and Sheridan Martin and get a sense of what wearable computing may look like in the future. It’s a delicate item though so there is no trying on…but elsewhere in the booth we’ve resolved that with Kinect,” said Clayton.

Bing on Surface 2.0: Next at Microsoft blogger Steve Clayton uses Bing to search for images of Las Vegas on Microsoft Surface 2.0’s Samsung SUR40 at CES on Jan. 10, 2012.

CES 2012: Bing on Surface 2.0

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