Kinect for Windows to add Windows 8 desktop-app support

Kinect for Windows to add Windows 8 desktop-app support

Summary: Microsoft's Kinect for Windows sensor and development kit are coming to China and a handful of other new markets this fall.


Microsoft has provided a fall update to its Kinect for Windows roadmap.


Microsoft plans to release an update to the Kinect for Windows runtime and software development kit (SDK) on October 8. A September 4 post to the "Kinect for Windows" blog mentions some of the new features slated to be part of that update:

  • Expanded sensor data access—including color camera settings and extended depth data
  • More tools and samples, such as "a new sample that demonstrates a 'best in class' UI based on the Kinect for Windows Human Interface Guidelines"
  • Support for Windows 8 desktop applications, Microsoft .NET 4.5, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2012. (Desktop apps are legacy Windows apps that will run in the Windows Desktop on Windows 8, alongside the so-called "Metro-Style/modern apps built using the WinRT API.)

Microsoft also is expanding availability of Kinect for Windows beyond the original markets in which it was launched more than seven months ago. On October 8, Kinect for Windows will be available in China. "Later this fall" Microsoft will make Kinect for Windows available in six other markets: Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, and Poland.

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: Windows, Microsoft, Software Development


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).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • WinRT + Kinect seems like a potentially good match

    I'm curious how they will handle things like getting into the app's menu, bringing up the charms bar and app settings. Microsoft needs to provide some basic guidance on NUI navigation and gestures like they have for Xbox 360.

    I would love to test out using WinRT apps on a big screen TV with Kinect.

    My dream would be voice control, voice search, and voice input for WinRT. I absolutely love controlling my Xbox with voice and if that functionality could someday carry over to Windows PCs it could be awesome.
    • Good things are coming...?!?

      The future is near...We're just waiting for the government to get up off their asses and release this much needed shit. Flying cars...I can understand that not being released because it would be preety messed up if you're walking down the street and BAM! a car falls on you. But this is alot more than that. This is the gateway most of us have waited so long for. This is what can change our future, what can much alot of things possible. Virtual operations that cannot be messed up. Being able to chat in realtime with virtual reality. The possibities is unlimited but..............leave it all up to our government. THE BEAST!!! We are watching you...
  • This needs Windows Metro support.

    I'm surprised support for Kinect wasn't built into Windows 8 Metro at all. Kinda of a huge oversight there. :(
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • It is

      Sort of. Visual Studio 2010 has some touch gestures and the next version 2012 has even more. Or maybe I should say .NET 4.0 and .Net 4.5. Actually, support is built into .NET and not really the operating system. The current set of touch gestures sort of translate to Kinetics. Still, this is such a new way of thinking it is not really ready for prime time. That is why it is still and SDK. The final set of gestures is still being developed. Expect some patent wars.
  • And the official release date is

    still 2 months away and you can begin to se the separation from the rest of the OS pack.. By the time RT arrives there will be total separation and the computing age will have moved to the next generation. Quests who will be in the dust bin then?
  • Kinect SDK should someday be built into the WinRT Windows SDK

    Kinect is such a natural fit for non-desktop devices. This SDK should really be baked into the Windows SDK so WinRT apps can access it.
  • When it hits the chinese

    Heh, I noticed the writer said that Kinect for windows SDK will be available in china soon. When the chinese get some of that, it may explode with new stuff. ALL this time, and I not seen a single voice recognition app, similar to xbox's voice recognition, and I have not seen any mouse controlling apps, And most of all, NOTHING for simulating a webcam!!!
    Joel Cressy
    • they may have....

      What makes you think that they may not have been the ones to develope it in the 1st place? So therefore they should get credibility for it. You would think that the USA is responsible for all the tech we get??? Not even close. Others develope and we buys from them and they get to have their name on it and/or first to have it.
  • Would love to have....

    I would personally love to have a kinect hooked up to my PC due to the fact the that it's microsoft based anyway. Some of the best exercise games are used by the kinect. Therefore, why the hell not? I'm go for it on my windows 8 computer....Loving it all the way.
  • The very real possibility of privacy issues

    I just don't think I want my TV to be able to count the number of people in the room...