What you need to know
Microsoft is discontinuing its Azure Kinect Developer Kit.
The company has indicated that the product will be available until October while stocks last.
The move will not impact the product's user experience, and Azure Kinect Developer Kit SDK will remain available for download.
Microsoft recommends offerings from its partners, like Orbbec, as substitutions for the entry that will provide long-term solutions and sophisticated customization options.
Remember Kinect, Microsoft's audio-visual peripheral that made its debut back in 2011? The accessory flew off the shelves during its initial launch on Xbox 360, but the success was short-lived, as the accessory struggled to gain traction among consumers, ultimately forcing Microsoft to pull the plug on it later in 2017.
However, we saw the rebirth of the ill-fated Kinect in 2019 as the Azure Kinect Developer Kit. While the entry received a ton of praise in regard to its depth, audio technologies, and flexibility across industries, Microsoft has decided to discontinue the Azure Kinect Developer Kit, ending yet another Kinect device.
Microsoft is partnering up with outside companies to ensure that consumers have access to similar entries in the market moving forward.
Likewise, if you're interested in getting yourself an Azure Kinect Developer Kit, they'll be available for purchase till the end of October 2023. However, this is valid while stocks last.
It is also worth noting that the entries will now ship with the standard limited hardware warranty. The company recommends offerings from its partners, such as Orbbec, as options for users looking for long-term solutions and sophisticated customization options. The newly announced Orbbec Bolt uses the same depth camera as the Azure Kinect Developer Kit and there is an API bridge to migrate apps to work with the Bolt.
Microsoft’s Swati Mehta also highlighted in a blog post that discontinuing the product will not impact its user experience and that the Azure Kinect Developer Kit SDK will remain available for download.
Microsoft could be shifting focus to augmented reality
The Azure Kinect Developer Kit is a well-designed product, but in a similar fashion to the Kinet, it never got traction. Now, Microsoft might be looking to invest its resources elsewhere, clearing ground for its partners in the field. "We have made the decision to end production of Azure Kinect Developer Kit, but this is far from the end of this technology as it will continue to be available through our partner ecosystem," said Microsoft.
Rumors hitting the headlines indicate that Microsoft could possibly be working on a new entry for its mixed reality HoloLens line, HoloLens 3. Though things have been quiet on this end, a new patent provided a glimpse of what could be the next big thing. Importantly, patents don't ensure products will ever launch.
Apple and Meta have made strides in the metaverse world. However, Apple's HoloLens-like 'Vision Pro' headset might not meet expectations. Reports indicate that Apple has already scaled down the production of units from one million shipments in early 2024 to approximately 150,000 units. Apple cited the sophistication and complexity of the manufacturing process as the main cause.
With this in mind, this could be the perfect time for Microsoft to make a comeback and even the scale. But we'll have to wait and see how things pan out.