Home Steve Ballmer Kicks Off CES 2011 [Updated]

Steve Ballmer Kicks Off CES 2011 [Updated]

This year at the Consumer Electronics Show, one word on everybody’s lips is “tablet”. After Apple’s record breaking year with the iPad, tablet makers are looking for ways to make inroads on the already dominant device and tonight, everyone will be looking to Microsoft to see what they have in store for 2011.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will kick off this convention of consumer gadgets galore with a keynote speech tonight at 6:30 PST and we’ll be blogging the event, with an ear out for news on the tablet front.

Of course, if Microsoft is the only one without tablets on the brain, we’ll bring that to you as well. In past years, the company has unveiled the XBox, Windows Vista and Ford Sync, so we’re expecing something good. Already, the company has unveiled a “system on a chip” (SoC) that promise even smaller, thinner and more power-efficient devices.

Stay tuned.

Update: While the tablet was not the focus of tonight’s presentation by Microsoft, new hardware based on the SoC chip mentioned above certainly was. Before that, however, the majority of the presentation focused on showcasing some stats on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, Windows 7 and a few upcoming features with Microsoft Kinect, the controller-less gaming system that lets users move in front of the screen to play.

Kinect Gets Hulu, Netflix & More

Coming this Spring, Kinect users will be able to control Netflix, Hulu and Zune using the hands-free system. In addition to that, ESPN will partner with Microsoft to bring social sports watching to the Kinect.

WP7 Coming to Sprint & Verizon…and Gets Cut & Paste

As for the Windows Phone 7, Microsoft announced that it would be getting increased interaction with XBox Live and a whole slew of new games. Beyond that, much was a recap, but Ballmer did offer a few stats:

  • 9 phones with 6 mobile operators in 30 countries
  • More than 5,500 apps available in the marketplace
  • 100 new apps are added every 24 hours
  • More than 20,000 developers are registered with Microsoft

Windows Phone 7 users will also be excited to hear that they will be getting cut and paste capabilities in the upcoming months, and WP7 phones will be available on Sprint and Verizon some time during the first half of 2011.

Windows 7 Stats and….

As for Windows 7, Microsoft says that Windows 7 PCs are the fastest selling of any PC in history, selling at a rate of 7 per second. More than 20 percent of all PCs connected to the Internet, said Ballmer, now run Windows 7.

The Real Big Story – SoC

The big story, however, turns out to be the one revealed earlier today. The “system on a chip” (SoC) technology will allow manufacturers to use ARM architecture to create full motherboards that could fit in the palm of your hand and are powerful enough to fun full Windows 7 environments. Microsoft showed off a number of netbooks, laptops and even a tablet or two that are said to be faster, more powerful and more power efficient than any of their predecessors.

We would like to say goodbye to batteries that last only a couple hours at a time and it looks like that may come in the near future.

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