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Did Microsoft just cancel Windows Phone’s potential killer feature?

Microsoft Windows Phone 3D Touch

Earlier this year, we heard that Microsoft was working on something called 3D Touch, a new system that would integrate the Xbox One’s Kinect technology into Windows Phone. WPCentral’s sources now say, however, that plans to release a device with 3D Touch have been put on the shelf for the time being because Microsoft execs and engineers couldn’t escape the nagging sensation that it was nothing more than a gimmick.

“These touchless gestures are evidently not ready for developers or consumers, and Microsoft is holding back until they feel the innovation is more than just a novelty,” writes WPCentral. “Combined with the recent Kinect setbacks with the Xbox One, it is clear that the public – or perhaps the technology itself – is not quite yet ready for mass adoption. Microsoft has learned some hard lessons over Kinect as the state-of-the-art accessory has not exactly caused a revolution in game interaction.”

While it’s true that Kinect has not proven itself to be a big draw for gaming, its prospects for working on smartphones sounded much more promising. The Verge’s Tom Warren reported earlier this year that Kinect in Windows Phone would let you answer your phone just by holding up to your ear and to turn on speaker phone just by placing it down on the table when you’re on a call with someone. The technology would also let you 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.

At any rate, while we’re disappointed that Microsoft has apparently decided to shelve this feature, it’s nice to see that the company didn’t want to release the technology if it wasn’t sure it would deliver real value to consumers. Other companies, alas, don’t have the same level of restraint.

Prior to joining BGR as News Editor, Brad Reed spent five years covering the wireless industry for Network World. His first smartphone was a BlackBerry but he has since become a loyal Android user.