Ballmer Talks 8 Million Kinect Sales, Windows Phone 7, Avatars

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Ballmer Talks 8 Million Kinect Sales, Windows Phone 7, Avatars

by Nicholas Kolakowski

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Consumer Tech

In contrast to many of 2010's conferences, where he focused on business or developer initiatives such as Windows Azure, Ballmer used his CES 2011 keynote to highlight Kinect, Windows Phone 7 and other, more consumer-y aspects. Well, that's why they call it the Consumer Electronics Show.

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Big Bets

Microsoft's product lines are the result of "big technology bets that we've made," Ballmer said, including investments in cloud and natural user interface.

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Kinect and Xbox 360

Ballmer announced that Kinect sold more than 8 million units in the 60 days since its release.

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Entertainment Hub

Microsoft has designs on the living room, partnering with Netflix and Hulu to offer entertainment channels through Kinect. In theory, that will place Microsoft in more direct competition with Apple TV and Google TV, which also stream content.

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Ballmers Avatar

At one point, Ballmer left the stage and "reappeared" as a Kinect avatar.

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Avatar Kinect

In coming months, Microsoft will roll out Avatar Kinect, which will allow users to interact with others in virtual environments.

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Windows Phone

Ballmer told the audience that Windows Phone 7's applications storefront now offers 5,500 apps. He also confirmed that a series of software updates will be pushed automatically to Windows Phone 7 owners over the next few months.

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ARM-Based Windows

Ballmer discussed how the next version of Windows will support SoC (system-on-a-chip) architecture, including ARM-based systems from partners such as Qualcomm, Nvidia and Texas Instruments.

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Windows Hybrids

Although Ballmer offered no Windows-based tablets in the "conventional" Apple iPad- or Samsung Galaxy Tab-style format, he did show off some upcoming laptops that heavily utilize touch screens.

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Windows Phone 7

Ballmer offered no hard numbers for Windows Phone 7 sales in the months since the platform's release, but he did reiterate that Microsoft will continue to push the smartphones "aggressively."

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