Microsoft may have shipped Kinect for Windows out of beta on February 1st, but the company is already pushing ahead with its version 1.5 plans. In a blog post this week, Microsoft's Craig Eisler is offering up a sneak peek at the future of its SDK for developers. Kinect for Windows hardware will launch in 19 more countries in the coming months for developers to take advantage of the new SDK, including Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan in late May. Kinect for Windows will also launch in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates during June.
The Kinect for Windows 1.5 SDK, due in late May, will see the release of Kinect Studio — a new app that allows developers to record, playback, and debug clips of users interacting with applications. Microsoft is also planning to support a new "seated" 10-joint skeletal tracking system, which lets developers track the head, neck, and arms of seated and standing users in default and near mode. Kinect for Windows 1.5 includes new support for French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese speech recognition too, and Microsoft will also be releasing new language packs to enable regional speech detection: English/Great Britain, English/Ireland, English/Australia, English/New Zealand, English/Canada, French/France, French/Canada, Italian/Italy, Japanese/Japan, Spanish/Spain and Spanish/Mexico.
Eisler says the company will discuss the features in greater detail in a future blog post, leaving us pondering the future possibilities of its seated skeletal tracking system. We have seen a few examples of Kinect for Windows apps, with some even matching the grand promise of Microsoft's "Kinect effect," but there's bound to be more in the coming months.