One of the few bits on new information contained in Steve Ballmer’s last CES keynote address was that Microsoft will launch Kinect for Windows on February 1. The company is planning to release a new software development kit, developer program and hardware that will enable its motion-based interface to be used with PCs. The new hardware will cost about $250 (compared to $150 for the Xbox version), and it will be able to see objects as close as 50 cm away.
The open source community has already been working on drivers for using the Xbox Kinect device for Windows. Observers say the move to offer an official “Kinect for Windows” program that can be used for commercial development will effectively create two different development communities surrounding the device and return more control over development to Microsoft.