While Microsoft has always stated that the specifications for their Kinect motion sensor camera allowed them to be manufactured on the cheap, the exact profit made on each unit has remained a mystery up until recently. UBM TechInsights reports that the per-unit cost for the Kinect sensor hovers around a mere $56, netting Microsoft a clean $94 profit with each unit sold. The “heart” of the system, the PrimeSense reference system (consisting of the cameras, microphone, and processor) by itself only costs $17, leaving the rest of the cost for cosmetic and related hardware like casing and wiring.
“Basically, the strength of the design is the huge design win for the Israeli fabless company PrimeSense,” said Allan Yogasingam, a technical marketing manager at UBM TechInsights. “They’ve provided the most innovative portion of the Kinect with their image processor, audio and video interface.”