updated 09:15 am EST, Tue January 31, 2012
Kinect notebooks being tested, ASUS a partner
The upcoming notebooks with built-in Kinect will be licensed to makers such as ASUS but no other motion-sensing technology can be used in these, The Daily claimed Tuesday. Likewise, while the Windows 8 notebooks with Kinect were ASUS-branded, the Taiwanese computer maker isn't involved in testing the gear, but it will likely be a launch partner. The test units are almost always plugged in as well, suggesting the technology is heavy on energy use. A dedicated battery pack just for the Kinect camera and sensor that clips onto notebooks may be required in order to alleviate this issue.
Microsoft is believed to be testing prototypes in public places in order to troubleshoot sensor sensitivity in real-world conditions, although a need to tether to a wall outlet would limit where these could go.
The company will reportedly let notebook makers customize their Kinect-enabled, Windows 8 notebooks with the software they'd like, possibly leading to a splintered environment. A common feature, however, may be a "log me in" feature that will let users unlock their notebooks by speaking into the camera: Windows would look for a match of both the voice and face. Face recognition-only systems like Android 4.0's Face Unlock can be fooled by photos in some cases.
Kinect-equipped PCs could be available as soon as the end of the year, shortly after Windows 8 arrives, although this isn't guaranteed.