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"Near mode" Kinect for Windows priced, dated

A possible feature of Kinect 2?

Kinect officially comes to Windows operated PCs on 1st February, and will cost $249.

Kinect for Windows will not be compatible with Xbox 360s. That's because Kinect for Windows has firmware that can do more.

The most attractive Kinect for Windows feature is a near mode, which allows the camera to be used as close as 50cm away.

Will this be a feature of Kinect 2 - the second generation of the device rumoured to be so powerful it can lip read?

Kinect for Windows also bundles the software development kit (SDK) and runtime, so buyers can commercially make their own apps for the camera.

Many boffins have already tinkered non-commercially with Kinect using the Xbox 360 camera. This won't be allowed when the Kinect for Windows launches. But those Kinect PC apps that exist already will be allowed to live on - Microsoft has extended the beta SDK licence for them to 16th June 2016.

Students will be able to buy a cut-price Kinect camera for Windows later this year at a special academic price of $149.

Sesame Street Kinect TV was demoed last night at CES 2012.

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