While Microsoft's Kinect motion controller camera for the Xbox 360 has been available in Australia for near a year, the camera's voice recognition features have not been available to residents of that country. That will finally change in mid-December, according to IStartedSomething.com.
So why has it taken so long to offer voice control for Australian Kinect owners? Simply put, Australians talk with an accent. Yep, that deep but sexy way that people Down Under have for their regional speech patten took a while for Microsoft's Kinect engineers to figure out. It's likely that the new Australian voice support will be added with a free patch for Kinect.
The Zune Music Pass will also be making its debut Down Under in the next few weeks. Microsoft announced that it will be made available to Australian residents on November 16. The service will allow users to listen to an unlimited amount of music for $11.99 a month for Xbox 360 owners along with the PC, via the Zune software client, and Windows Phone 7 devices.
There appears to be a little confusion over whether Australian Zune Music Pass owners will also be able to download individual music tracks and albums. Microsoft Australia's PR rep says they won't but Microsoft's US PR rep says that feature will in fact be included.
In any case it's good to hear that Microsoft is finally giving Australians access to the Zune service along with adding the Kinect voice support. It just goes to show that voice recognition features are cool but only if the device actually understands a person despite his or her accent.