How Microsoft lost the future of gesture control
Microsoft's Kinect was miles ahead. Here's how they're snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Computerworld - Microsoft used to rule the technology world.
Ten years ago, Windows, Office and Internet Explorer were the only "platforms" that really mattered.
Microsoft historically attained its glory by making end user products for the masses, and only later and secondarily going after enterprise and vertical markets.
But the rise of Apple as a consumer electronics company, Google's emergence as an everything company, and the advent of Web 2.0, the cloud and the social Internet have left Microsoft struggling to find a way to succeed in the markets of the future.
Kinect is a top-notch, low-cost in-the-air gesture control interface for Microsoft's console gaming platform that was way ahead of its time and broke the Guinness World Record for the fastest selling-consumer electronics gadget ever.
So when Microsoft later announced a version of Kinect for Windows, everybody (including me) assumed that it would go on to dominate the future of gesture control, and use its dominance as an advantage to regain its lead in the desktop PC market of the future.
But now it looks like Microsoft blew it.
What's wrong with Kinect for Windows?
Microsoft Kinect for Windows sounds like you should be able to use it with a desktop PC, and you can. Unfortunately, the closest you can get to the cameras is 16 inches away, and that's when you put it into a special "Near Mode."
That technical limitation puts the user's head and body farther away from a screen than usual. So right out of the box, it can't be used naturally, as we once expected, as an alternative to a mouse on a PC.
Microsoft doesn't mind, because it isn't really targeting end users like you and me.
Most of the example photos shown on the Microsoft website show Xbox-like distances where the user is across the room or at least five feet away from the Kinect.
These pictures show commercial and retail applications -- a business presentation, a physical therapist, a retail eyeglasses store. Microsoft's Kinect for Windows blog also emphasizes retail applications of the product.
It's possible that Microsoft may eventually market Kinect for Windows to consumers. But so far, it looks like it's not cultivating developers in that market.
Microsoft still hasn't announced commercial availability of Kinect for Windows, though it did release an updated software development kit (SDK) this month.
Right now, Kinect for Windows ships to developers only and doesn't come with software for controlling any interface. If you want to control something, you have to build your own software using the SDK.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Government Agency Webifies Outdated COBOL Applications Let this CTO tell you how his agency converted 1980s-era green screens into an e-filing portal for the 100,000 cases handled each year...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts