While most electronic companies at the Consumer Electronic Show talked and displayed their future products, Microsoft, on the other side, was busy talking momentum and offering a short glimpse of what next. Microsoft talked Windows 7, WP7, Xbox 360 and the Kinect, and the next version of its operation system.
While most tech pundits and the people that closely follow Microsoft were expecting for some big announcements or the first reveal of Windows 8 beta version, the software giant did the contrary focusing on the success that windows 7, the entairment products,as well as the office productivity suite, and offer a rough idea of what’s next to come.
The Microsoft CES show started with Gary Shapiro taking the stage, talking about the 13 long years of their collaboration with Microsoft, and presenting Steve Ballmer with a gift showing the gratitude for the success that they has through the years. And although, Microsoft had already announced this year show will be their last appearance at CES, Gary objected saying that “I will be shocked if Microsoft’s leader does not return in a few years.” But that will remain to be seen. (Watch the full CES 2012 Microsoft keynote below:)
The show then continued with Steve Ballmer taking the stage and talking about Windows Phone 7 and the Metro interface, which according to Steve, has been influencing in the design concept of all products of the software giant. Ballmer talked about the Windows Phone interface which he stressed as “putting people first”. Unlike other smartphones, notably the iPhone and the breath of customized Android phones, Windows Phone team took a different approach by presenting your social life, your work and email in an aggregated, simple and unique ways, explained Ballmer while talking about the Metro design. Ballmer also showed the recently-announced Nokia 900 and the HTC Titan II, as the first 4G LTE supported WP7. Then Derek Snyder, one the executive communication managers from the Windows phone division, took the stage and talked about what make WP7 special stressing the availability of different hardware that with a unified software experience. Snyder also demonstrated some of the unique features of Windows Phone 7 such as the scout feature and the People Hub.
Ballmer then continued talking about “what matters the most”, Windows. He talked about the momentum and the fast adaptation of Windows 7, which according to Ballmer, is being used by more than 500 million people today. Ballmer touted Windows as being the largest software ecosystem that exists. Ballmer, in a video, showed some Windows PC that currently available to consumer and the new stylish computer that will be coming from Microsoft’s OEM partner including Asus, Acer, Dell, Toshiba and SONY. He then jumped to Windows 8, the next version of Microsoft operation system. Ballmer said “With Windows 8, we have reimagined Windows and it will deliver a no compromise experience.” He explained that with the Metro interface, Windows offer great touch experience and people will still be able to have capacity to use Windows for what they used including tasks such as productivity, entertainment consumption with a new wave of hardware form factors. Then Tami Reller, Windows CFO, was invited to demonstrate Windows 8 and she talked about some of the features of Windows 8 including the search and share contract. She briefly talked about the store application which she said will be open to developers on late February, around the same time Windows 8 beta is supposed to be available for developers and most likely to users to download. According to Ballmer, Window 8 developer preview had been downloaded 3 million times.
The show then continued with Ballmer talking about the success the popular game console, Xbox 360, and the well-received voice-gesture control, the Kinect. According to Ballmer, Microsoft so far has sold more than 66 million units and has more than 40 million subscribers of the popular online services, the Xbox Live. And Ballmer also touted the success of the Kinect, which has been a very successful product for the entertainment division, selling more than 18 million units. And to make thing a little bit exciting, Ballmer announced that Kinect will be available for Windows coming this February. Ballmer also explained how the Xbox 360 has evolved to become more than a gaming console. According to Ballmer, with new Metro interface, the Xbox 360 is becoming the “Hub of consumer entertainment.” And to follow the chain of demonstration, Craig Davison, senior director of Xbox, took the stage to demonstrate some of the search, gesture and voice command of Xbox 360 with its new Metro interface. He demonstrated how using Bing, people can search for contents on the web, navigate among the different menus, launch an application, and of course play games. He also announced some new partners that will be offering TV contents around the new Live TV service of the Xbox 360 including Comcast, Fox and News Corp.
But while Microsoft was busy talking about the success of last year including Windows 7, the Kinect and explosive sale year that the Xbox 360 has as being the number gaming console for most of last year, people wanted to know what is next. And Ballmer talked about what will be next for Microsoft: Metro, Metro, Metro, and Windows, Windows, Windows.Further reading: CES2012, Microsoft