Kinect for Windows to add Windows 8 desktop-app support

Microsoft's Kinect for Windows sensor and development kit are coming to China and a handful of other new markets this fall.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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