Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer touted Kinect, Windows Phone 7 and Windows 7 during his CES keynote, but Windows-powered tablets were a no-show.
Steve Ballmer used his Jan. 5 keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show here to
highlight the company's forays into the consumer realm, including the Kinect
hands-free controller for Xbox 360 and Windows Phone 7.
product line is the result of "big technology bets that we've made,"
Ballmer said, including "bets on the cloud" and "natural user
interface." Thanks to those innovations, he added, Kinect and the Xbox 360
are expanding from pure gaming platform to household entertainment hub,
integrating offerings such as Netflix and Hulu.
we speak today, millions of people are enjoying their TV, their music and their
movies on demand through Xbox Live," he said. In coming months, Microsoft
will roll out Avatar Kinect, which will allow users to interact with others in
virtual environments via gesture.
Ballmer's presentation focused primarily on consumer innovations along the
lines of smartphones and gaming, Microsoft has already made some significant
announcements in the opening hours of CES. Hours before Ballmer's keynote, the
company used a Jan. 5 press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show to
announce that the next version of Windows will support system on a chip (SoC)
architecture, in particular ARM-based
systems from partners such as Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments. ARM
chip designs dominate much of the burgeoning mobile market, which Microsoft is
anxious to penetrate.
currently dominates the x86 platform used by traditional PCs, but the rise of
powerful mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets-powered largely by ARM
chip designs-has effectively created a whole new market for the operating
system, provided it can work out the engineering details.
the hood there's a ton of differences that need to be worked through,"
Steven Sinofsky, president of Windows and Windows Live Division, told the media
and analysts assembled for the press conference. "Windows has proven
remarkably flexible at this under-the-hood sort of stuff. We work on storage
from flash all the way up to terabytes of storage" and "Windows
kernel on alternate architectures."
the keynote, Ballmer delved into the ARM
development a little more. "We made the announcement now in order to allow
all of our partners to work together and build upon this innovation," he
said. "We're very excited about the full set of partners for the next
version of Windows."
added, "Windows support for SoC is an important step for Microsoft and for
the industry." By emphasizing the need for what he termed "the full range
of capabilities for any device," Ballmer seemed to be drawing a contrast
between Windows and the lighter operating systems backing mobile devices from
Google and Apple.
power and breadth of software, the always-on capabilities of a mobile phone,
great browsing and productivity in addition to the basics like printing,"
Ballmer said. "Windows has the breadth and depth and the flexibility to
define and deliver this next generation."
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.