Earlier this year, Microsoft Australia announced its intention to bring Kinect voice recognition Down Under sometime in mid-December this year.
The publisher has made good on that promise, revealing that Kinect voice control will be added as part of the next Xbox Live dashboard update, which will begin rolling out today, December 6, for all Australian users.
The free update will also add support for services such as ABC iView, SBS On Demand, YouTube, Daily Motion, and video-streaming service Crackle. Microsoft has also announced it has partnered with ninemsn to provide video content from television programs such as Nine News, Today, Wide World of Sports, and CelebrityFIX TV through Xbox Live.
The update will also add Bing text search and a new Windows Phone application titled Xbox Companion App; the latter will be available via the Xbox Marketplace and will allow users to find, research, and control their Xbox content from their phones.
Kinect's voice command is supported through a limited set of "grammars," which are sets of words or phrases that trigger an in-game response.
The Kinect launched in North America on November 4, 2010, with voice-command features limited to American English, British English, Mexican Spanish, and Japanese. The Kinect launched in Australia on November 18, 2010, without voice recognition.
In September, Microsoft announced a price drop of A$50 on the Xbox 360 Kinect bundle, with a new recommended retail price (RRP) of A$399 for the 4GB Xbox 360 with the Kinect bundle and A$499 for the 250GB Xbox 360 with the Kinect bundle.
Microsoft also announced that it will be bringing its monthly music subscription service Zune Pass to Australia on November 16, 2011. The service gives users access to a database of songs and music videos that can be streamed or downloaded and played on a Windows Phone, PC, or the Xbox 360.
The Zune Music pass will be available in Australia for A$11.99 per month.