When the Kinect first launched last November, gamers were (to put it charitably) a bit skeptical. Here was a device with incredible technological potential, and the most impressive game that came out with it was a dance simulator.
Still, the Kinect has become a bona fide hit, selling more than eight million units in the first 60 days alone and being named the “fastest-selling consumer electronics device” of all time by Guinness World Records. But more importantly, the software problem has been solved. Not by Microsoft, whose Kinect releases have been few and far between, but by the ever-growing legion of hackers creating innovative tech demos and applications for Kinect on the PC.
Microsoft just can't catch a break. The tech giant reported their first quarter results, and they managed to beat analyst expectations. Microsoft had revenue of $16.43 billion for the which is a 13% increase from a year ago. Income was $5.23 billion, or about 61 cents per share. So why is Microsoft feeling down about these admittedly huge numbers? The market isn't impressed. Redmond is seeing stock dip 2% in after-hours trading.
We're still a long, long ways off from living out a Minority Report lifestyle, but the next time you turn on your Xbox 360 console, you'll be prompted to accept an update that adds even more razzle dazzle to your Kinect, if you have one. The update adds Kinect support for Netflix, so you no longer have to grab your controller to sort through titles and fire up movies in your queue.
It seems like every few weeks Microsoft thumps its chest over how many Kinect motion control cameras it's sold, and now we're being told that number is 10 million. If there was any remaining doubt that Kinect sales have been an "overwhelming success," as Microsoft put it, the rapid rise to double digit sales earned kudos from the Guinness World Records as the fastest-selling consumer electronics device. So much for the naysayers.
It turns out Microsoft was more than a little modest when it forecast worldwide sales of 5 million Kinect units in 2010. The actual number was much higher, with Microsoft selling 8 million units to retailers by January 4, 2011. The sell-through to consumers was 6.35 million units, according to data provided by market research firm iSuppli.
When the Kinect first launched, Microsoft seemed unsure how to respond to the dedicated modding community that sprang up around the Xbox peripheral. Happily, they decided to accept the inevitable, if not fully embrace it. But now we have word from Microsoft itself that a Kinect SDK for Windows will be dropping this spring.
Microsoft showed off its Kinect sensor working in concert with Windows Phone 7 at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. But what about other smartphone platforms? Well, since it’s Kinect, there surely must be a hack for that. As it turns out, there is indeed one. Video after the jump.
In one of the strangest tech demos of Mobile World Congress 2011 to date, Microsoft has been showing off a tech demo of a Windows Phone 7 working with an Xbox 360 Kinect game. Read all about it and peep the video inside.
What we love most about the Kinect isn't the motion controlled gaming, but the innovate software hacks programmers are coming up with. One of the latest comes from researcher Akihiro Nakamura from the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) in Japan. Nakamura took the OpenNI API and developed a hack that lets users control their Roomba devices with a series of gestures, replacing the need to bend over and push buttons.
Remember when Steve Ballmer said that Microsoft would officially support Kinect on PC “in the right time”? Well, apparently he probably could've waited another couple seconds to add “right about... now.”
According to WinRumors, Microsoft's currently connecting the dots on an SDK and official drivers for Kinect on PC. Barring any unforeseen stumbling blocks, both pieces of the puzzle will be available for normal folk who haven't hacked their Kinect to pieces “in the coming months.”
More specifically, the drivers will be distributed as part of a beta program, and general Kinect support may soon appear in a Community Technical Preview of Microsoft's XNA development tools.
In other words, the wait's nearly at an end. Soon, you'll have a tiny, slowly evolving robo-eye watching your every action in your office as well as your living room. And before you know it, there'll only be one thing those seemingly harmless little cameras voluntarily recognize: a blood-spattered white flag.