Microsoft's new Kinect is official: larger field of view, HD camera, wake with voice

Microsoft's introducing a new Kinect motion-sensing camera to go alongside its new Xbox One game console. The camera peripheral is getting some major improvements in its second iteration, and it's expected to ship with every new console at launch. One of the most impressive features is the ability to wake the console with just a voice command. Simply say "Xbox on," and you're ready to get gaming. In fact, you can shout all sorts of things at your new Kinect, such as "watch TV" or (wait for it...) "snap Internet Explorer." That's right, there is true multitasking built into Xbox One and you can move windows around or switch between tasks, with just a voice command. Of course, you can also navigate the various panels and screens with the usual hand waves and air pinches, should you feel a bit silly talking to your console.

On the inside is a 1080p camera -- a huge step up from the VGA sensor on the original Kinect. The new motion controller processes a stunning two gigabits of data per second to accurately read your environment. Everything about this second iteration of the Kinect is more accurate, in fact, from the number of reference points on your skeleton it monitors down to its ability to read your heartbeat. And it's powerful enough to bring that increased fidelity to not just one, but six skeletons simultaneously (should you have enough room in your pad for that many players). It even has the ability to talk to the standard Xbox controller for some Move-like functionality. Lift the remote and you'll lift your shield in the game, for example. For Microsoft, the Kinect is what ties the Xbox One experience together.