For a while now, we’ve wondered whether Microsoft had a plan to really differentiate Windows Phone from iOS and Android and make it more than just another mobile platform. The Verge’s Tom Warren reports that Microsoft is working on integrating its Kinect motion detection software into Windows Phone in a big way that could really give Microsoft a way to draw a lot more people to use its platform.
While Kinect has not yet proven to be an essential must-have for gamers who own Microsoft’s Xbox consoles, it could be extremely useful if ported to the smartphone realm. Among other things, Warren says that Kinect in Windows Phone will let you answer your phone just by holding up to your ear and to turn on speaker phone just by placing your phone down on the table when you’re on a call with someone. You’ll also be able to end your call by putting your phone into your pocket, as Kinect will be able to automatically tell what you’d like to do based on lighting and positioning.
According to Warren, Microsoft has an ambitious longterm goal with this new 3D Touch technology: The elimination of as many smartphone buttons as possible. This means that, for instance, Microsoft wants to be able to “remove buttons like power, so phone owners can simply grip their device to power it on.”
Warren says Microsoft will first unveil these new Kinect-enabled Windows Phone features on a device that’s now codenamed the Nokia McLaren that will essentially be Microsoft’s successor to the Lumia 1020, which made its name last year for having the best smartphone camera the world has ever seen. While the devil is always in the details with this sort of thing and Microsoft needs to make sure 3D Touch works well right out of the box, we’re certainly excited to see this new feature in action.