Microsoft had announced at MIX that they were doing it. Now they've done it. The Kinect SDK Beta is now available. I've blogged about the Kinect as an input device, and I've spoken about its potential impact on computing at local .NET user group meetings. With an official SDK now being available, we can begin to see what the real potential impact will be.
You will need a Kinect in order to get any value out of the Kinect SDK. You'll also need a computer with at least a dual-core, 2.66 Ghz processor, a graphics card with DirectX 9.0c capabilities, Visual Studio 2010 (Express will work) , .NET Framework 4.0, and Windows 7.
What will you get with the SDK? You'll be able to access to raw streams coming into the Kinect such as audio and video. You can also get access to the skeletal frames. There are advanced audio applications that can be tapped. This includes noise suppression, sound direction, and integration to the Windows Speech SDKs. The overall idea of the SDK is to allow you to integrate audio, video, and interactions into your applications.
Microsoft was clear at saying that this is a beta. They are looking for feedback. Additionally, they have commented that this a non-commercial SDK, so don't expect to start building applications for making money today. They did indicate that at some point they will address commercial, but in the early stages of this beta, it is not now.
So the wait for an official beta is over. The Kinect SDK is here ... at least in beta form.