As expected, Microsoft has announced at CES 2012 that Kinect for Windows devices will become available from February 1st, priced at $249. Those of you who attended my Kinect class at AU 2011 will probably remember me speculating about the eventual cost for this device, and that it would preferable for Microsoft to recoup more of their technology investment from the physical devices than they had from the equivalent devices for Xbox 360, and therefore avoid developers having to pay Microsoft directly for the use of their SDK. I think I suggested it’d be fine to pay $200 or more for the device (it’s a bit of a blur, at this stage), and Microsoft’s proposed $249 doesn’t strike me as at all excessive.
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.
Clearly I see this as being really good news: while the existing Kinect for Xbox 360 hardware can be used when developing applications, when they are released commercially (or even non-commercially) they will only be able to target the more expensive Kinect for Windows hardware, and developers will be able to continue to use the excellent Kinect SDK to their heart’s content. Fair enough.
I know at least a few people left AU with the intention to investigate using Kinect technology in interesting ways. Has anyone come up with any interesting uses for it, as yet? (Feel free to drop me an email, if you’re shy about posting a comment.)