Microsoft has shown us a few examples of their Kinect sensor working together with Windows Phone in the past, but if the latest rumors are to be believed this integration could go one step further. VR-Zone, who has sources "which proved reliable in the past", is reporting that Microsoft is working to integrate the Kinect technology directly into the Windows Phone 8 platform and devices.
The site claims Microsoft is dedicating a lot of resources to help bring the Kinect Natural User Interface (NUI) to Windows Phone 8 as a major feature, either with the launch or in an update shortly afterwards. Apparently there are still "caveats to be solved" before the technology is fully ready to be presented in Windows Phone "Apollo", but this rumor would indicate it is actually coming.
Microsoft is also encouraged by the success of Apple's Siri technology as they try and incorporate Kinect into Windows Phone 8. VR-Zone's sources say the "Kinect NUI is being closely tied to Microsoft TellMe, since Kinect allegedly captured more voice patterns than Apple Siri", indicating we could see advanced voice recognition with the inclusion of Kinect.
Of course actually implementing the Kinect technology on a smartphone is hard, as the Kinect hardware uses two cameras to sense motion and depth along with an IR camera so the product works in the dark. Space to put all these components on a smartphone is certainly going to be a challenge for the research team, but the end result could be amazing and a huge selling point for the mobile platform.
Again, at this stage these reports are just a rumor, but it certainly makes the next version of Windows Phone sound a lot more exciting.