The leaked Microsoft/Nokia roadmap we wrote about the other day threw plenty of new product codenames at us, but the “McLaren” is already looking like the one to watch out for later this year.
And not just because it's looking like the flagship Windows Phone release going into the holiday season either.
Insider sources have revealed that the McLaren will be one of the first Windows Phones to come with a new gesture-based UI that works a lot like the Kinect system for the Xbox.
“Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans” have confided in The Verge that the system – known internally as 3D Touch or Real Motion – was actually developed by Nokia but came into Microsoft's hands when it took over the Finns' devices and services business earlier this year.
Like the Kinect gaming add-on – and to some extent Amazon's 3D camera-based control system expected on its debut smartphone offering – 3D Touch will use a series of sensors around the device to help simplify regularly used tasks and functions.
For example, it will reportedly let you answer calls simply by holding the phone to your ear, switch a call to speaker phone by laying it flat on a table or end the call by placing the phone in your pocket.
Sensors on the side of the device, meanwhile, will be able to detect how you typically hold your phone and stop it from switching orientation when you lie down in bed, or allow for zooming in and out on the camera by dragging a finger down the side of the phone.
Microsoft was reportedly hoping to introduce 3D Touch with the handset codenamed “Goldfinger” which we heard about late last year, but has decided to hold fire and instead use the Goldfinger as a development device. It has apparently been in touch with developers to build up a stock of apps and games ahead of the system's rollout.
It's not clear whether the 3D Touch system will only feature on Microsoft's own hardware or will be hard-baked into Windows Phone itself for use by other OEMs such as Samsung, HTC and Huawei.
A lot will depend on how popular it proves, so you can bet Microsoft will be watching closely when Amazon unveils its own 3D sensing system on its first ever smartphone next week.