The Redmond company is not exactly offering anything specific about its plans for the evolution of Kinect but it’s also not shy to indicate that the future holds much more for the technology that what’s available to customers today.
Craig Mundie chief research and strategy officer talking at the Research Faculty Summit 2011 pointed out that the Kinect technology could evolve to be featured in next generation form factors including smartphones and laptops.
“There's no reason to think that these won't go through the same progression that we've seen with other sensor technologies. I could dream about a day where anywhere today that you have a camera which is the back of your cell phone or the bezel of your laptop there's no reason to think that over time that camera shouldn't be this kind of camera” Mundie added.
“And there's obviously a lot of work yet to go to produce that level of miniaturization but I don't see any fundamental reason to think that wouldn't happen. And therefore many of these things I think will be available in the mobile environment in one form or another.”
When I talked with some of my Microsoft contacts last year they confirmed to me that work was being done to port Kinect to additional platforms including Windows.
The most illustrative example for the time being although unconfirmed officially by the software giant is the integration of Kinect into Windows 8.
I use the term integration because this is about more than just hooking up the NUI sensor to a Windows 8 machine running deeper to the level of application programming interfaces (APIs) libraries etc.
There’s nothing set in stone at this point in time obviously but one thing is clear Kinect’s potential is in no way limited to the Xbox and it could be an extraordinary fit on a range of products and platforms.