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