The Daily claims to have seen two Windows 8 netbook prototypes with a Kinect sensor mounted in the chassis, built by Asus and sanctioned by Microsoft. Given that the Redmond company officially announced Kinect for Windows earlier this month during CES 2012, the news shouldn't be a surprise. But so far both companies have yet to announce anything backing up the report.
According to The Daily, the prototype netbooks featured an array of small sensors stretching across the top of the screen where a webcam typically resides. Mounted along the bottom of the screen was what appeared to be a string of LEDs. The report also noted that an unnamed source at Microsoft confirmed that the two prototypes were indeed official. Unfortunately, the rest of the story is mere speculation, providing little else of the actual hardware details.
As reported during CES 2012, Microsoft plans to release the Kinect for Windows SDK to developers on February 1. This means the Kinect drivers and APIs will be available to both commercial software developers and the general public. The company said that it's currently working with more than 200 companies to build applications for Windows that take advantage of Kinect's technology.
"We are building the Kinect for Windows platform in a way that will allow other companies to integrate Kinect into their offerings and we have invested in an approach that allows them to develop in ways that are dependable and scalable," said Craig Eisler, General Manager, Kinect for Windows.
Suddenly a netbook with a built-in Kinect sensor doesn't seem quite so far-fetched after all.
Depending on the price per unit, using a Kinect sensor may be cheaper than installing a touchscreen when building an "interactive" netbook or notebook. Gaming would seem out of the question given the compact nature of the notebook/netbook form factor, but waving through various windows or activating applications via voice would seemingly be ideal. As Microsoft indicated earlier this month, the possibilities are seemingly endless.
"We are excited for the new possibilities that Kinect will enable on the Windows platform, and to see how businesses and developers reimagine their processes and their products, and the many different ways each Kinect could enrich lives and make using technology more natural for everyone," Eisler said.
We can't wait to see how this possible rumor flourishes.