Last year, Kinect sold 18 million units, which gave it the honor from Guinness World Record for the fastest selling consumer electronics device ever. As Microsoft and users will attest, there has been a great deal of behind-the-scenes ingenuity and experimentation. Instead of mimicking the handheld motion-sensing controllers already on the market, Microsoft changed the controller paradigm by inventing a new natural user interface system that enables advanced human tracking, gesture recognition, voice control and more. In other words, the person became the controller. There is no cable or mouse or other physical connection to the device, but the user can still control the software through voice or physical gestures. New Hardware and Software
Microsoft is announcing that the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1st, 2012 with a suggested retail price of US $249. It will be available in 12 countries (United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom) and Kinect for Windows hardware will be available, in limited quantities at first, through a variety of resellers and distributors. The price includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking, and our continued investment in Kinect for Windows-based software advancements. Later this year, we will offer special academic pricing (planned at US $149) for Qualified Educational Users.
A New Platform The focus on the current model of Kinect was on games, and Xbox Live. But Microsoft has seen a shift away from games to other areas, like medicine, and science (see Microsoft Kinect in Science and Medicine). Microsoft has seen the success of Kinect away from the games forum so it is expanding on that trend.
Starting with “near mode” (See Kinect for Windows – Building the Future) where Microsoft will deliver software features on an ongoing basis. There is also support for Windows 7 and the Windows 8 developer preview (desktop apps only). Enhancing the voice and gesture recognition aspects, Kinect for Windows will be part of the Windows Embedded-based devices and will enhance how data is captured and accessed within intelligent systems in a multitude of industries including manufacturing, and retail. They are also building the Kinect for Windows platform a way that companies can take advantage of the hardware and software to create new operations associated with their own business.
Source Microsoft Blogs .