Microsoft's Kinect for Windows software development kit adds Windows 8 Desktop app support

Summary:Developers can now write Desktop (non-Windows-Store style) applications for Windows 8 using the latest version of the Kinect for Windows software development kit.

Microsoft released on October 8 an updated version of its Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) that includes support for Desktop applications running on Windows 8.

Company officials said in September that developers should expect the updated Kinect for Windows SDK to arrive today .


The October SDK includes several new features, including:

  • Exposure of the infrared stream in the application programming interface (API) as a new color image format. 
  • Extended depth data (beyond four meters), but with reduced quality as distance increases
  • Ability to optimize color camera settings
  • Support for a new raw Bayer color image format
  • Exposure of the sensor's accelerometer in the API
  • Support for German in the speech-recognition pack
  • Support for several new APIs for converting data between color, depth and skeleton coordinate spaces
  • Support for Windows running in a virtual machine (VM), including those from Microsoft's Hyper-V team, VMWare, and Parallels

According to the release notes, the October SDK also allows developers to build Desktop applications for Windows 8. Desktop apps are Win32 apps that cannot be downloaded directly from the Windows Store in Windows 8 and Windows RT. The new SDK also adds support for Visual Studio 2012 and .Net 4.5.

Kinect Studio 1.6.0 has been updated to support the new features in the SDK.

Today also is the day when Kinect for Windows sensors go on sale in China, as Microsoft officials said they would back in September.

The Kinect for Windows sensor looks like the Kinect for Xbox sensor. 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 shortened the the USB cable and included a “small dongle” to improve coexistence with other USB peripherals. The Windows version also modified the Kinect depth camera to see objects that are “as close as 50 centimeters in front of the device.

The Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) and runtime are available under both a commercial license and a hobbyist license, allowing developers to create commercial/business applications that make use of the product.

Topics: Developer, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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