Key Points of the Microsoft CES Keynote!

Posted by at 9:02 pm on January 7, 2009

Now that Bill is only  working  part time at Microsoft and giving his money away, we have Steve Ballmer, Micorosft CEO, and  Robbie Bach, President of the Entertainment and Devices Division, to give Microsoft’s view of the world at CES.  Bill Gates supposedly  sent Steve a text, to make sure he goes to CES.  I doubt he would forget.

Windows 7

So let’s start at the core of the business for Microsoft – Windows, Windows, Windows, Windows. Sorry Steve.  

Love or hate Vista, one thing is true, everyone wants their OS to be faster on their machine.    It looks  like Windows 7 is moving that in direction with faster boot up and shutdown times, an  easy point for even the least techy of users to know there have been some changes under the hood.  

A new feature called Home Group, for instance, is on track to help consumers connect PCs together to access music, photos and more, regardless of where it is stored.

Media is a big for focus for this new version of Windows, we should see many upgrades and  improvements  to Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center (TV recording, guide, online media, etc).  

Plus with touch screen capable machines we will see many of the ideas Microsoft first used in the Surface product hit on home front. HP is already shipping all-in-one desktop PCs with touch screens.

Windows 7 will feature a cleaner interface  with fewer  clicks to access to files and applications. An improved task bar and start menu join the goal of showing fewer popups and longer battery life on notebook PCs as other improvements of Vista.

Microsoft said that a public beta version of Windows 7 would be available for free to everyone on Friday.  But there are limited slots, it’s first come first serve….so don’t wait long to sign up at  microsoft.com/windows7.

Windows Live

Windows Live has a newly released Windows Live Essentials, which includes popular services like  Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Writer and Windows Live Mail.  Dell will preinstall Windows Live Essentials on all PCs now.

Facebook will be added to the line-up of feed partners for Windows Live . So soon you will be able to mix  content  from Facebook Windows Live like you can today with photos from Flickr, music from Pandora, or restaurant reviews from yelp, and it all will appear as a feed on Windows Live. Hopefully this won’t turn out to be the “Ghost of Active Desktop”.

Live Search

Live Search  will be the default search engine on Dell PCs and Verizon phones.  Both of these deals had been rumored for months but had never been confirmed by Microsoft.

Windows Mobile

Microsoft said a new version of Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile, Internet Explorer Mobile 6, would be released later this year.  Oh BTW Apple, it will support Adobe’s  Flash, so you can watch flash video just like you do on the desktop.  I like the iPhone but lack of Flash support has been a pain in the back side when going to news sites.

Two new mobile phones featured at CES -“ Samsung’s Omnia and Sony Ericsson’s Experia X1, both using Windows Mobile, got nods by Microsoft. The Omnia comes equipped with an impressive 5-megapixel camera and software – built on the Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system -“ that makes it easy to create precisely fitted panoramic photos. It tracks the shooter as he or she pans and snaps pictures, and corrects the framing if the user tilts the camera low or high.

The Windows Mobile 6.1-equipped Xperia X1, meanwhile, comes with both a touch screen and slide-out keyboard and a 3.2-megapixel camera. Its screen allows camera users to “touch” parts of the photo that must be in focus. And it comes with nine pre-set screen “panels” that are customized for specific applications.   (Try to say that you are “booking with Expedia on your Experia” three times fast)

Xbox 360

Halo Wars is coming March 3rd and on Feb 5th a downloadable demo available online via Xbox Live.  Halo Wars  is designed to reach a new audience since it’s a strategy game and not a first-person shooter.

The other Halo game is Halo 3: ODST, which more live the standard halo fair.  ODST stands for Orbital Drop Shock Tropper.  The  soldiers  are  similar  to Air Force H.A.L.O.  (High Altitude, Low Opening) Jumpers in pour universe, but they  do it from space not from a  HC-130P/N.  Plus would you want the game be called Halo 3: H.A.L.O.?  Didn’t think so.

Xbox Primetime you play live gameshows at a designated date, time and with other live players…there’s a live host and prizes!  Real  World Prizes. This first was planned to come up when Xbox changed to the new Xbox Experience (it’s UI) but was delayed at the last minute, now we should see it this spring.  1 vs 100 1 will be one of the first games and you will need an Xbox Live Gold account to play.

One of the more exciting  announcements  and ideas was Kodu.  IT is an easy way for grade school age children to create their own games on the Xbox Live! via    Xbox Community Games  . They will then be able to share them via Xbox Live.  A  great way to get kids  interested  in programming!

Microsoft Auto

Ford Sync will now come with TellMe.    Ford and Microsoft like to tell  everyone  they meet that cars with sync installed outselling over 2X the same  model  without Sync.  Sync was one of the better things MS displayed at CES 2008 and I hope to give a demo of the new features soon.

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