Forget bigger touchpads—motion controls could be integrated into your next notebook. The Daily says Asus showed it a pair of prototype systems with built-in Kinect functionality. The systems run Windows 8, and sources at Microsoft reportedly referred to the notebooks as “official prototypes,” suggesting Redmond is encouraging PC makers to bring motion controls to their systems.
Although hackers have been using Kinect on the PC for quite some time now, the motion controller’s official launch on the platform isn’t until February 1. That’s when you’ll be able to buy a proper Kinect kit for Windows, albeit at quite a premium. The Windows version is listed at Amazon for a whopping $250, which is only $30 less than it costs to get the motion controller bundled with an Xbox 360 console. If Kinect-enabled notebooks carry a similar price premium, I doubt they’ll be popular.
Motion controls have intriguing potential for notebooks, though. Windows 8 will presumably be laden with gesture controls designed for touchscreen input, and I suspect many of those functions could easily be controled with simple hand gestures. If those gestures can be performed while lifing one’s hands just off the keyboard, they might be quicker to execute than reaching down to swipe the touchpad or up to fat-finger the display. This functionality may ultimately be better suited to all-in-one desktops than notebooks, since continually scanning the user’s body for motion probably isn’t good for battery life.