What Kinect and Windows Phone 7 Have in Common

By  |  Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 3:54 pm

From the Kinect reviews I’ve read so far, there seems to be consensus on one thing: Microsoft’s Xbox 360 motion controller is a neat idea with flawed execution.

Although the technology is undeniably cool — Kinect detects your movement head-to-toe with a camera and responds to voice commands — the software is inconsistent, and unless you’ve got a large living room with even lighting and few no major obstructions, the hardware won’t work perfectly. There’s also a little bit of lag.

Kinect draws a parallel in my mind to Windows Phone 7. Microsoft’s new mobile platform lays a strong foundation — the tile menu is a fresh approach to smartphone interfaces, and the overall feel is like butter — but app selection is a concern, and the OS is held back by missing features and the occasional puzzling design choice.

Of course, Kinect and Windows Phone 7 have different aspirations. In mobile, Microsoft is playing catch-up to the iPhone and Android, and faces immense pressure to merely compete. The Xbox 360, however, is a success. Microsoft sees Kinect as both an extension of the console’s lifespan and as a revolutionary input method that could move beyond entertainment. But it certainly isn’t vital like Windows Phone 7.

Nonetheless, the endgame is the same. As Harry recently pointed out, Microsoft’s trying to get its mojo back with Windows Phone 7, Internet Explorer 9 and Bing. If Kinect is as revolutionary as Microsoft hopes, it could be the biggest mojo maker of them all.

Thing is, Bing and IE9 already look like solid products. Windows Phone 7 and Kinect still have a lot of work to do.


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8 Comments For This Post

  1. dlink Says:

    Why doesn't Microsoft finish a product before releasing it?

    The iPhone was released in January 2007. It is now 3 years and 11 months later. MIcrosoft sat on its hands for a long time and did not respond.

    Now Microsoft is rushing to get Windows Phone 7 out before Christmas, to enjoy Christmas sales. Yet it decided to leave out essential features in order to do this. It's not a 'verson 1.0' product. It's a version 0.8 product.

    It's a terrible way to fast-track things to market, and probably does a lot more harm to Microsoft's reputation than good.

  2. Joe Says:

    I don't think needing a large space and even lighting indicates a flaw, especially the space. Is Football flawed because you need 100 yards? Is car racing flawed because you need a mile plus track? How about basketball? Why can't I play that game in my closet?

  3. JaredNewman Says:

    Come on, Joe. Kinect is a device for the living room, which will not work in a subset of living rooms.

  4. Joe M Says:

    "but app selection is a concern, and the OS is held back by missing features and the occasional puzzling design choice"
    What are you talking about!? there are more than 1000 apps now, and more are being added every day! that's not bad for a device that hasn't launched yet. And if you're referring to Copy/Paste and Flash, Microsoft and Adobe are working on those and they will be added in next update!! the iPhone didn't get Copy/Paste until OS3 and it still doesn't support Flash!! so based on your logic, the iPhone is permanently flawed!

  5. JaredNewman Says:

    No one has promised anything for the "next update," we just know that flash and copy-paste are coming in the future, but that's the point. At launch, Windows Phone 7 still had a ways to go. It's now up to Microsoft to do the work and get the phone up to speed.

    I don't get the "iPhone didn't have these features at launch" argument. In comparing the current state of smartphones, why would I care what one phone did or didn't have three years ago?

  6. MacBook Air 2010 Says:

    Microsoft just does not seem to do elegant hardware designs at all. This thing is a mess on the inside. Cool technology, though, and I think that it will probably be successful in the long run.

  7. Nicholas H. Says:

    As someone who just bought a kinect, I have to say the device is actually really well done in execution. The motion tracking for the simplest of things like menus is already much better than the wii. I bought your shape evolution and it would seem the Ubisoft has really tuned into the tracking. I read all the big name reviews, joystiq, ars, etc. and I almost didn't buy one. It would seem that for some reviews the authors did not have optimal space (which may be an issue in itself) but with the right amount of space it is amazing. Plus this is the voice recognition I've been waiting for! I encourage you guys to go to the stores and try one.

  8. bims Says:

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