Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is planning to add 3D gestures and motion tracking technology to its smartphones that mimics some of the functionality of its Kinect devices used for its Xbox platform, according to a report from The Verge.
The report, citing unnamed sources, said the technology is being dubbed internally as 3D Touch or Real Motion, and at least one device featuring the technology, codenamed McLaren, will be released later this year by a range of U.S. carriers. The report said that broadly the technology will let users hover their fingers over the screen to interact with games and applications without touching the display.
A Microsoft spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the report, 3D Touch is something that Nokia (NYSE:NOK) developed over many years and will not initially be available on Windows Phones from Samsung Electronics, HTC and others. Microsoft completed its $7.5 billion purchase of Nokia's devices and services business at the end of April.
The report added that the technology will let users perform commands like answering calls by holding the phone to their ears, as well as the ability to set the phone down on a table to enable speakerphone. The phone's sensors will also let people interact with a new user interface that will let users hover over a Live Tile in the Windows Phone UI and tap via the air to get to smaller Tiles that are associated with that app, such as messages inside a Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) app.
Other companies either support or are reportedly working on 3D gestures. Samsung's Air Gesture already lets users of its Galaxy line of devices change music tracks, accept phone calls, and scroll through websites. Further, Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) rumored smartphone, which the retailing giant will likely introduce at an event on June 18, will reportedly use Omron's Okao Vision face sensing technology for its 3D user interface. That technology will apparently let users tilt the smartphone or their head left or right to browse and access hidden side panels on the screen. However, it's unclear if any of these technologies will actually matter to consumers or if they will come across as mere gimmicks.
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