During their CES Keynote last night, Microsoft announced that the PC version of the Kinect would be coming very soon: February 1st in the US, to be precise.

"Kinect for Windows", as it's called, will sport a few physical changes, like a shorter cable and USB dongle, but the biggest improvement is the addition of "Near Mode", which allows the Kinect to accurately read movement as close as 50 centimeters away.

Those improvements don't come cheap though: Where the 360 version of the Kinect costs 150 bucks, Kinect for Windows will run you almost twice as much, retailing for 250 dollars.

Speaking with Kotaku, Microsoft explained that the price hike isn't only because of the improvements, but because there's a much lower expectation that PC Kinect users will be buying other Kinect software.

While most of us think of the Kinect as a gaming device, Microsoft sees Kinect for Windows primarily as a tool for business. Boeing, Mattel and Toyota have all announced parterships with Microsoft to design communications software for the platform.

Of course, that doesn't mean you can't use a PC Kinect for gaming: Gamers have been working on that since day 1.

[Via Kotaku]