Microsoft's Last CES Keynote

Well this was Microsoft's last year at being a keynote speaker at the Consumer Electronics Show.  After the wait in line for two hours, playing games on my mobile phone and having butlers walking around giving away Microsoft pens, mints, Bing stickers and cleaning peoples screens for them, we got in to sit down for the show.  We scored some good seats in the second row in front of the stage.  After another half an hour wait for everyone to get seated in this massive hall at the Venetian hotel, the show was ready to start.


Gary Shapiro (President of CES) and Steve Ballmer (CEO of Microsoft)


Since this was the last year Microsoft was doing the keynote, the Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro gave Steve Ballmer a going away present of a mural of pictures of days gone by over the last twelve years of Microsoft keynotes.  My favorite part of the keynote was when they also took a montage of video and audio clips and autotuned them to make a song. Steve sounded a little like the crazy frog in that Binging away.



Host Ryan Seacrest and Steve Ballmer


The host of the evening was Ryan Seacrest.  He was getting the lowdown from Steve about everything Metro.  Metro was the word of the keynote.  This "interview" style keynote actually worked quite well.  

The product lineup that was showcased was a little scarce.  Microsoft was showing how their Windows Mobile 7 phone was a people hub of communication and how the phone tied into all forms of messaging services to stay in contact.  I thought that was a nice feature rather than trying to create a new messaging program out there.  One of the phones they showed off was a Nokia Lumia 900 running the latest Mobile 7 software.  Another phone was the HTC Titan 2 that had a whopping 16 megapixel camera built into it - again running the Mobile 7 platform.

On the computer side of things Microsoft was displaying Windows 8 on a number of sleek looking laptops.  They mentioned that Windows 8 will be able to run on the hardware of every Windows 7 computer.  Tami Reller took the stage and focused on power, mobility and familiarity of the Windows 8 platform.  She demo'd a touch unlock screen for Windows 8 that used a family photo for the pattern unlock.  Swipe hand gestures were used to open a right hand side task bar that was named charms.  All the Metro style apps being demo'd took advantage of these swipe motions.

A choir came out during the show to give us an update on what was being tweeted about CES 2012.  Nothing like a tweet choir to get your tweets. 

Kinect was all the rage this year on the Xbox.  I know Kinect is already out, but in February it will be able to be plugged into Windows computers.   An update to Metro dashboard is running now on the Xbox and looking good.  Voice search and gestures were used for surfing the internet with Bing on the Xbox.  I liked the idea of using a windows phone as  a remote for the Xbox movie playback experience.



Ryan Seacrest listening intensely to Steve Ballmer talk about Windows 8

One announcement I was not ready to hear was Sesame Street coming to the Xbox Kinect.  I thought the idea of having interactive entertainment was brilliant, and surprised at the same time that it hadn't been done before.

So what's next from Microsoft? Well as Steve Ballmer said. "Metro, Metro, Metro and Windows, Windows, Windows."