Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

Summary: Microsoft is planning to launch a version of its Kinect for Windows software development kit (SDK) licensed for commercial use in early 2012.

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Microsoft delivered a beta of a software development kit (SDK) enabling the Kinect sensor to work with Windows PCs in mid-June 2011. But this SDK was licensed for non-commercial use only.

The Softies declined to say when the commercial-use version of that SDK would be out -- until today.

On October 31, company officials said the commercially licensed Kinect for Windows SDK will be "early next year." (There's no word in Microsoft's release if this will also be a beta SDK. I've got a question in.)

According to Microsoft, more than 200 businesses worldwide, including Toyota, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Razorfish, are part of a Kinect for Windows pilot program focused on exploring business usage of the Kinect sensor, which Microsoft launched in November 2010. Healthcare is just one of the areas where there's been a lot of early pioneering work and thinking about Kinect's potential applicability.

The existing Kinect for Windows SDK beta, available from http://research.microsoft.com/kinectsdk, is for non-commercial use only and is covered by a custom Microsoft academic license. The SDK was developed jointly by Microsoft Research and the company’s Interactive Entertainment Business unit.

The Kinect for Windows SDK, which runs on Windows 7 PCs, includes raw sensor streams from the Kinect cameras and microphone arrays for those who want to access the low-level programming interfaces. It also provides skeletal tracking capabilities for up to two people for those who want to create gesture-centric applications, as well as audio elements that are integrated directly with Microsoft’s Speech API (SAPI).

There's no word as to whether this SDK will be optimized for Windows 8 PCs, but with the Windows 8 beta also expected by many of us Microsoft watchers in early 2012, perhaps the stars will align....

Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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16 comments
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  • will fail

    without Linux and android support kinect is DOA!
    The Linux Geek
    • RE: Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

      @The Linux Geek

      LOL. Mary-Jo's place just wouldn't be the same without the Court Jester.
      ggreig
    • RE: Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

      @The Linux Geek, if by DOA you mean setting the Guinness World Records for fastest selling consumer device.....then yes it is DOA
      s|rf
    • RE: Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

      @The Linux Geek <br><br>Seriously. Do you just copy-pasta that into every thread?

      Luckily most of us accept your posts as non-representative of the actual Linux community.
      TechNickle
  • Locking hardware to their latest OS

    Hope it supports Windows XP and Vista too or it will bomb. Even WP7 can sync with XP and Vista. Xbox 360 can connect with any Windows PC. They shouldn't have locked it to Windows 7.
    xp-client
    • RE: Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

      @anonymuos

      I doubt it will ever support XP as that is a dead OS when it comes to new software enhancements and Vista is a possibility but seeing as Windows 7 has been out for almost 2 years and when this finally becomes publicly available closer to 2.5 - 3 years I don't see much of a problem. Also taking into account Vista's usage share I really do not think that it will affect many people that actually would want to use this on their Windows PC.
      bobiroc
    • RE: Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

      @anonymuos By all means, it should support XP, and why stop at that decade-old OS? This cutting-edge device should support BASIC and hieroglyphic code as well...
      lewisshepherd
      • RE: Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

        @lewisshepherd

        See what I find funny is that you rarely (if ever) see these types of complaints if other companies like Apple drop hardware or software support from their latest OS. It gets defended on how people should just upgrade or whatever. When the same defense is made for Windows it is said that Microsoft should provide support for everything in their older OSes.
        bobiroc
      • MS will be doing themselves a favor

        @bobiroc and @lewisshepherd, it's is Microsoft's gain if more people write apps for Kinect and their own Windows platforms. The non-commercial SDK isn't exactly popular today and there are hardly any apps anyone is writing which use Kinect because it 1. Requires users to have Kinect (usually only those with Xbox are likely to have one) 2. Requires Windows 7. This specific requirement narrows down the target audience too much.
        xp-client
    • RE: Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

      @anonymuos

      Why stop there? DOS drivers FTW!

      Big /S. Somewhere there's a bridge with no troll patrolling it.
      TechNickle
  • Non-Free--Who Cares

    Microsoft have already missed the boat with drivers for their own hardware. Free Software projects like libfreenect are already a year ahead of them. And by Free I mean Free, with no restrictions. Use it for what purpose you like, commercial or otherwise. Who needs Microsoft's hobbyist-limited stuff?
    ldo17
    • RE: Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

      @ldo17 <br><br>People that want to have unfragmented non-flash-in-the-pan support in the future, by the company that sells the device.<br><br>People building outside the SDK will be in constant flux over updates, firmware changes, and future devices. Using the approved SDK minimizes huge amounts of future head-aches. That's why there are official SDK's for devices. (hopefully you know this)
      TechNickle
  • Kinect + Windows in 2012

    A minimal goal for MS, most certainly, will be to have Windows 8 and Kinect working well enough together by the consumer launch day of Windows 8 (in Q3 2012) that there will be a good gesture navigation experience with the new Metro UI elements available right away for those new Windows 8 PCs. (And, probably, so the can release some kind of less-impressive-but-still-useful experience for those sticking with Windows 7 machines.) And, obviously, users who want that new gesture navigation experience will also need to own or buy a Kinect, which should push some more very nice holiday sales numbers for Kinects for MS.
    The really interesting part of the equation is what kind of Kinect upgrades we are going to see from MS next year. Surely MS will want to enable finger-tracking capabilities of some kind, especially if they hope to deliver a navigation-by-gesture experience for PCs. That, I'm sure, has been a thorny technical problem. And it will be very interesting to see whether they can pull that off addressing that problem by a firmware update alone, or whether we'll see some actual hardware upgrades next year. Or maybe they'll leave the Kinect itself alone and settle for a more conservative option like they took with navigation on the Xbox (ie. adding some kind-of slapdash gesture and speech recognition navigation features to get something out into the marketplace while they worked on a much improved design).
    JustSomeRandomGuy
  • RE: Commercial version of Kinect for Windows development kit due in early 2012

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  • disKinect & Windows H8

    I don't want Kinect OR Windows 8,
    and I definitely don't want Kinect AND Windows 8.
    Droog
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