Microsoft ends CES keynote run with Windows 8 focus

Software company's final (for now) Las Vegas tech show light on gaming news; Kinect hits PCs February 1 as Xbox 360 user base tops 66 million.

LAS VEGAS--There are those who believe that Microsoft will drop the mic in its final 2012 Consumer Electronics Show appearance, after bringing down the house with the first official word of the oft-rumored Next Xbox. This speculation comes despite the Xbox 360 still being the dominant console in North America, from both a hardware and software sales perspective.

The Kinect 2 will take one more step toward sentience. Should it exist, that is.

While a full console unveil is a bit of a long shot, Microsoft is likely to have a few announcements up its sleeve for CES 2012. As it pertains to the company's Xbox division, updated statistics for its console and the Xbox Live online network are safe bets, along with new initiatives on bringing original television to its entertainment box. And on the fringe of possibility, Microsoft could use its limelight to trot out a new hardware iteration for the Kinect.

Unofficially dubbed the Kinect 2, the device is said to be sophisticated enough to read lips. Rumors also suggest that the motion-sensing peripheral can assess a player's emotional state and determine which direction he or she is facing. Of course, those same rumors suggest the Kinect 2 will be a key part of Microsoft's next console.

Beyond the Xbox 360, Microsoft will likely talk about its new operating system Windows 8, as well as advances on the Windows Phone front.

[6:29] Microsoft's final CES keynote address is supposed to be just seconds away!

[6:32] Gary Shapiro, president of the CES-organizing CEA, takes the stage to welcome the crowd to the keynote address.

[6:33] Shapiro reminisces about the first time Bill Gates delivered a Microsoft address at CES.

[6:33] In 1995, Gates talked about the coming computing revolution, emphasizing that it would be "social."

[6:34] Shapiro acknowledges that "Microsoft is taking a break from the keynote stage" in 2013.

[6:36] He talks about the need to keep things fresh and change things, but thanks Microsoft for its support in years past. He also says he'd be shocked if Microsoft didn't return to the keynote stage in the next few years.

[6:36] With that, he brings out Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to applause.

[6:36] Shapiro presents Ballmer with a collage of the "great moments" in Microsoft and CES history.

[6:37] A video recaps 15 years of Microsoft at CES in two minutes. There's a lot of Bill Gates and a fair bit of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

[6:38] Whoever had Autotuned Bill Gates in the MS CES betting pool takes the pot.

[6:39] Ryan Seacrest is introduced as the host of the keynote address.

[6:40] He talks about partnering with Microsoft and Bing for a number of years and hails their "bold ambition."

[6:40] Seacrest says he didn't hesitate to accept Ballmer's invitation to host the keynote address and says he's going to try to run the keynote "conversationally."

[6:41] He introduces Ballmer, who comes out and awkwardly hugs/chest bumps Seacrest.

[6:41] Ballmer says Microsoft has a chance to raise its game to the next level in the next year. The heart and soul of that effort is the Metro user interface, he says.

[6:42] Seacrest makes a "metro" joke about his personal style.

[6:42] Ballmer enjoys the quip much more than anyone in the audience.

[6:43] Ballmer begins with Metro, the Windows Phone interface.

[6:43] He derides the "sea of icons" that plague other phone interfaces.

[6:43] "It is the first phone that puts people first," he says.

[6:44] You've all seen Metro before, and if you haven't, Goo…err…Bing it.

[6:45] Derek Snyder comes out to give a demo for the phone.

[6:45] Snyder is the senior product manager for the device.

[6:46] Snyder is playing pitchman for the months-old mobile OS. Does he not realize that he's preaching to a room full of tech nerds?

[6:47] Pictures, groups, updates from those in your social network, it's all in there.

[6:47] Snyder also advocates Facebook chat and MSN messenger, which are superior to Apple's equivalent, he says.

[6:48] The text messaging functionality and Facebook chat functionality is all tied together, he says.

[6:49] Snyder also shows how voice functionality is, well, supposed to work. "Sounds great," he says, but the phone hears "sound."

[6:50] "And everything works perfectly," which gets a laugh from the audience.

Microsoft showing off some Windows Phone 7 features.

[6:51] He's now showing Bing integration in Metro. Have we mentioned that this operating system has literally been out for months?

[6:52] He searches for a restaurant from nearby choices, selects it, and he finds location, reviews, phone number, and reservation apps.

[6:52] All right, it looks like the Metro pitch is over.

[6:52] Now, Seacrest and Ballmer are talking about hardware.

[6:53] Ballmer says Samsung, LG, Nokia, and others are making Windows phones.

[6:53] Nokia Lumia 710 and 800 will be coming to Canada. And T-Mobile users will be able to buy the Nokia 710 this Wednesday in the US.

[6:53] The Nokia 800 is coming in the next few months.

[6:54] Ballmer then unveils the Nokia Lumia 900, which has a 4G LTE network.

[6:54] It's on the AT&T network; it will be "heavily promoted" in the next few months in AT&T stores, Ballmer says.

[6:55] There's more, Ballmer says. He then shows the HTC Titan 2.

[6:55] It launched today, and it works on AT&T's 4G LTE network.

[6:55] It has a 16-megapixel camera built in.

[6:55] Over 16,000 apps published in the Windows Marketplace and are growing by about 300 every day.

[6:56] Windows PCs is the next topic of conversation.

[6:56] Ballmer is talking about the change that Windows has undergone, and the innovation it has spurred.

Steve Ballmer would like to talk to you.

[6:57] There are over 1.3 billion Windows PCs in use, making it the most popular smart device on the planet.

[6:57] Things change, and people don't want to compromise on what they have today, Ballmer says.

[6:58] Windows 8 is a reimagining of the operating system, he says.

[6:58] But first, Windows 7 hardware.

[6:59] Ballmer cues up a sizzle reel of Windows 7 PCs.

Photo: James Martin, CNET

[7:00] These include the Sony Vaio Z, Asus Zenbook, Acer Aspire 3S, Toshiba Protege, Dell XPS, Lenovo, Samsung 9 Series, HP Envy 14, and others.

[7:01] Chief marketing officer of Windows, Tami Reller, comes out on stage.

[7:01] She begins with Windows 8, which was introduced at CES 2011.

[7:02] The operating system is designed to deliver a "no-compromise" experience, combining the potential of a tablet with the power of a PC, she says.

[7:02] It combines what people want to do and need to do, she says. Demo time!

[7:02] The Windows 8 lock screen looks a lot like Metro's lock screen.

[7:02] There are icons for new email, messages, and calendar updates.

[7:03] Picture password is a new way to unlock the PC. Essentially, she identifies the correct places to click on a family photo.

[7:03] Windows 8 desktop also looks like the Metro interface.

Photo: James Martin, CNET

[7:04] It's dramatically different from the Windows you know and...love?

[7:04] She opens a finger-painting app, and it takes over the tile-based screen.

[7:05] Prototype Aardvark is what she calls the current build.

[7:05] A wide range of PCs and tablets will support Windows 8, she says, and Microsoft is working with AMD, Intel, and various hardware manufacturers to see this happen.

Photo: James Martin, CNET

[7:06] Metro-style tile apps can be used with touch, mouse, and keyboard.

[7:06] She's now showing the Apps store.

[7:07] The Windows Store has free apps, trial apps, and apps that can be purchased.

[7:07] The Windows Store looks a lot like Xbox Live's new interface, for those looking for a different touch point.

[7:07] She opens Cut the Rope.

[7:08] She plays a few rounds and then switches out to a different app.

[7:08] The Windows Store will open in late February.

[7:09] It will be global, available in every language.

[7:10] The apps can be used on Windows PC and tablets.

[7:10] She shows how the user can use a keyboard or mouse wheel to cycle through the various tile screens.

[7:11] Hey, want to rename a group of tiles? Yep, you can do that.

[7:11] As was shown in the phone presentation, apps also interact with other apps.

[7:11] She opens a newsreader app and sees a Mac & Cheese recipe.

[7:12] She wants to share this with her husband so that he can make it for their kids.

Photo: James Martin, CNET

[7:12] She notes that she was able to share the recipe without leaving the app.

[7:13] Now, she opens a Word document, and she is able to see the newsreader app and her Word document at once.

[7:15] Metro-style Internet Explorer is then shown, and Keller emphasizes that it integrates seamlessly with other apps.

[7:15] Apparently, Web pages are responsive in IE.

[7:15] Swiping, or scrolling with the mouse wheel, takes her back to the Word document she was looking at.

[7:16] The next milestone in wide Windows 8 availability will come in February, she says.

[7:17] She's now showing the HP Envy Spectre Ultrabook.

[7:17] And then, a Samsung Series 9, which is less than 13mm thick and weighs about 2.5 pounds. It's now available in 15-inch screens.

[7:17] Dell apparently will be announcing a new UltraBook tomorrow. And Keller is done.

[7:18] Back to Seacrest and Ballmer, who says there are 500 million users on the planet for Windows 7.

[7:18] Ballmer emphasizes that every Windows 7 PC will be able to use Windows 8 on day one.

[7:19] Seacrest then introduces the...Tweet Choir?

[7:19] It's a group of gospel singers, it appears.

[7:20] They are singing tweets that have been sent out during the presentation.

[7:20] "Nonplussed" doesn't even begin to capture the feeling in the room.

Photo: James Martin, CNET

[7:22] I think one of the singers just name-checked GameSpot News. We'll take it!

[7:22] All right, we're finally talking about the Xbox.

[7:23] Ballmer says that the Xbox represents the best part of Microsoft's DNA.

[7:23] There are now over 66 million Xbox users.

[7:23] There are more than 40 million Xbox Live subscribers, Ballmer says.

[7:24] Some use Xbox 360 for games. More and more people use it as an entertainment hub, he says.

[7:25] The Kinect is a big part of the Xbox, Ballmer says. Or perhaps, reiterates.

[7:25] 18 million units of the Kinect have now been shipped.

[7:25] Greg Davison comes out to talk about the Xbox.

Photo: James Martin, CNET

[7:26] It looks like we're going to get a rehash of December's New Xbox Experience, which has the tile-style Metro interface.

[7:26] Davison shows off the device's voice-recognition functionality.

[7:26] The Xbox responds quickly to his commands.

[7:28] He's doing more Bing searches, which go through Xbox Live to find his requests.

Photo: James Martin, CNET

[7:28] Xbox Bing Josh Duhamel, he says, bringing up a variety of movies in which the Dark of the Moon actor was in.

[7:29] He pulls out a Nokia 900, which apparently has Xbox functionality.

[7:30] He can open the ESPN app and check in on the BCS game.

[7:30] Alabama is up 12-0, for those wondering.

[7:30] He then uses his voice to return to the Xbox Live hub.

Photo: James Martin, CNET

[7:31] Comcast is coming soon, bringing with it Xfinity.

[7:31] Microsoft has also partnered with News Corp., bringing with it Fox, The Wall Street Journal, and more.

[7:31] The News Corp. apps are coming in 2012.

[7:32] Davison said that Microsoft is working on new experiences, in collaboration with famous content creators.

[7:33] He introduces Jamie Bower, as well as a small child, to talk about Sesame Street TV.

[7:33] It uses the Kinect and has a two-way element, she says.

Photo: James Martin, CNET

[7:33] They take current episodes in Sesame Street's season, and kids can now interact with the puppets.

[7:35] The game involves the child interacting with the puppet onscreen (Grover), tossing coconuts into a box.

Photo: James Martin, CNET

[7:37] The coconut-throwing segment lasts a while before they switch to another demo.

[7:37] Next up is a trip to Elmo's World, with the child dancing along with Elmo.

[7:38] Look, if you have a kid, this thing is probably going to be pretty cool.

[7:38] It's coming later this year.

[7:39] Seacrest and Ballmer are now talking about uses for the Kinect outside of the gaming spectrum.

[7:39] They cue up a video of people using the Kinect for classroom science, robotics, music, and more.

[7:39] Ballmer announces that the Kinect is coming to Windows on February 1.

[7:40] They are working with 200 companies, including Mattel, American Express, and many others.

[7:40] He's talking about Sync, which is now in 4 million vehicles.

[7:41] Office 2010 is the fastest-selling version of the product in company history.

[7:42] Incidentally, Amazon's product page for Kinect for Windows says it will sell for $250: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B006UIS53K/34a6-20/

[7:42] Ballmer talks up Skype, which Microsoft acquired last year, and boasts 200 million users.

[7:42] Bing has reached 30 percent market share, in collaboration with Yahoo!.

[7:43] Ballmer is summarizing, looks like we're almost done. Nothing's bigger to Microsoft than Windows 8, he says.

[7:44] OK, that's it. SEACREST OUT!

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107 comments
brianthesnail12
brianthesnail12

were do i start with windows 8 ? ... for starters its based around touch screen ... however less than 5% of pc users have touch support..... secondly i have a core i5 and have been reliably informed my cpu does not meet requirements... however my ageing toshiba laptop with a c2d P5450 cpu( at just 1.8ghz) passes with flying colours

     i have since discovered this problem is to do with 3 things ... pae ( physical address extension) .. sse2( which i know my cpu supports ) and finally NX ( non execute bit ) .... but i have since discovered my bios has this option but is disabled by default.... i havent enabled it since im not installing windows 8 rp on my main rig but at least i know what to do when i do purchase the retail version

     on a more positive note the apps on windows 8 release preview are pretty good....  i like the magix music app which was fun to use.. and some of the games ,allthough basic are also pretty good

      the sky news app is one of my favourites making the latest news easy to read... its easier to navigate and runs smoothly

       i only hope windows 8 does not become the next "vista" ... microsoft were lucky to get away with the vista disaster..... however this time around and with the ipad becoming more and more popular with home users a windows 8 flop would allmost certainly mean the end of windows as we know it

 

digi-demon
digi-demon

@blackace While I agree the new 360 dash is maybe smoother than PS3 menu system - I still believe the previous X360 dash was the superior design (less is more - simplistic less cluttered) The new dash feels clunky and full of useless channels and adds :P

blackace
blackace

@digi-demon @ElJefeDeMedios Agree the new dashboard design sucks *************************************************************** I like it better then the PS3 design, that's for sure. The new Xbox 360 dashboard is great. You can do just about everything by voice and even with a controller, it's lightning fast. It takes me forever to find what I want on the PS3 menu system.

advocacy
advocacy

So when does Windows 8 come out?

Fritzzland
Fritzzland

This bald guy seems hyperactive...

DEATH775
DEATH775

I don't have the kinect. Already Kinect 2 is coming out. Maybe I'll wait for kinect 3

demonic_85
demonic_85

$250 to buy Kinect on PC??? Why dont you just bend us over Microsoft? If I want one i'll just get a used Xbox one for around $100 and use homebrew software.

smghottie
smghottie

"There are over 1.3 billion Windows PCs in use, making it the most popular smart device on the planet." So PC's are now Smart Devices as well? So it's a ...Windows Personal Computer Smart Device? THAT, is a long title.

senjutsu
senjutsu

Bah, lame. The windows tablet are nice since you have both a windows AND tablet interface. Still, I'm not sure at all that I'll like the tablet interface (metro) of windows 8... I will surely keep my ipad2... Dunno, maybe I'll buy an ASUS transformer prime and install windows 8 on it? Not sure AT ALL for now, but it seems I'll keep my ipad2 for now. For the windows phone, I have nothing to say, I'll wait for iPhone 5 or I'll see for an Android phone if the 5th isn't what I want (I'm still using my old 3G, that still seems better than a new windows phone...). For Kinect, I don't see why we should pay more for a windows version... I suppose hackers will get the xbox version working on PCs soon enough. For the Xbox, I don't really see where they are going... Apps are nice but when they cite American Express as one of the biggest company they are working with for apps... Dunno. I'm not too shure about the metro interface.. hard to say what they'll do next (appart from halo 4.. lol). I'll still wait for a good xbox game, I haven't used it for more than a year, only playing on my PS3. At the start, xbox had all the exclusive, so I bought it, but then Sony had all of them, and I had to buy it too (ps3), I wonder if good games will pop on the xbox. I should still download super meat boy and Bastion, but I hate the way microsoft let you buy stuff, with points... I prefer to see how much exactly, I hope they offer the option in the near future. I'd pay! ^_^

manada
manada

you pple really don't see what microsoft is trying to do, its a global take over, like the financial and economical idea.

onlysublime
onlysublime

@Polaris. yeah, a "tool" that makes $60+ million a year just talking. i'd be a tool for that kind of moolah...

digi-demon
digi-demon

@ElJefeDeMedios Agree the new dashboard design sucks :(

holtrocks
holtrocks

Meh not interested in games where all i do is jump and move to the left and right.

JackHoleFace00
JackHoleFace00

Does anyone else feel like Windows 8 is coming out too early? I mean geeze, it seems like MS has finally repaired their image after the Vista debacle, and now they're like "Ok so everyone's finally happy with Windows 7?" Everyone: "Yeahh!" MS: "Great! Cuz we're throwing it out!" I honestly have not tried Windows 8, but I really like Windows 7, and Windows 8 seems better suited for tablets and what not, not my non-touch-screen desktop. Have it compete with Apple's mobile OS or Android, not cannibalize your own OS that's only a couple years old. Seems like a bad, or at least premature, move.

ElJefeDeMedios
ElJefeDeMedios

I tried the new 360 dashboard (I really did - honestly), and then immediately went back to using the simplified blades without ever looking at the new GUI anymore. I cant be alone ... so perhaps M$oft should use the console as a test bed for how much people really like their interface ideas. Or offer an OPTION to use one or the other ... crazy, I realize.

BimboShaggins
BimboShaggins

I love Microsoft, am a hardcore PC fan, and own an xbox, but I still think this conference was weak. Windows 8 looks like garbage IMO. Just a rip off of Mac products because MS has been trying harder and harder to be more "social" and "everybody" friendly. I can't imagine Windows 8 being popular for anyone who actually uses their PC for gaming. And the Metro style for the Xbox Dashboard is clunky, slow and worse than the previous dashboard... and the new netflix app is awful.

DrKillByDeath84
DrKillByDeath84

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

blackwing55
blackwing55

they should just focus on making the kinect two intergrate into the new xbox or just focus on the new xbox i don't want any problems with the new system because the couldn't concentrate on the system. would also not want kinect 2 to add another six months on development.

usermikey
usermikey

I have seen Windows 8 interface and it's a change, not that I don't like change, but I am going to stick with Windows 7, you can still make everything accessible with or without icons. However it is a step towards that sort of touch menu system you see in sci-fi films, if it even works on touch-display monitors..

prostar343
prostar343

Makes sense that Microsoft talked primarily about Windows 8 and Windows Phone, and the future integration about all these separate products under one platform. E3 is really a better place to talk about a new video game console, anyway.

Zephol
Zephol

Congratulations Microsoft!!

phillkillv2
phillkillv2

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

phillkillv2
phillkillv2

Sony fans are all over this. Trolls Also. People are talking about Pc Operating Systems not Consoles. Save that for E3

Landsharkk
Landsharkk

This is what we call forward thinking. MS is trying to streamline the entire tech experience with similar interfaces on your phone, computer, and xbox live. That also brings voice commands to your livingroom as well as your office, plus motion technology (via Kinect) as well. People are complaining about it now, but in a couple years you'll see that it's pretty standard stuff, but the MS haters will still hate regardless. Personally, I'm not ready for Windows 8, yet. I don't have a need for the tile-based OS or the Kinect integration. Eventually, yes I'll have it installed on all 4 of my home PC's, but I'm not seeing a need or requirement for it yet. On the topic of the new Kinect, MS realised its' potential thanks to all of the 'kinect hack' projects that took off since Kinect's first release. This is MS embracing this relationship between Kinect and the PC and really putting a lot of effort into making it more of a customer friendly reality. My only complaint about it is the $250 price tag...where is that coming from? That's $100 more than the Kinect for the Xbox, and so far I haven't seen any differences between the two (other than Kinect 2 can see things closer and will come with SDK package, but that doesn't warrant the large $250 price tag, IMHO). Overall, MS is taking multiple steps forward in the right direction.

Soothsayer42
Soothsayer42

@sleepnsurf Awesome Logic You Have there.. with 5 tops games being played on 360 was FPS... you call that gaming? :lol: typical americans

Soothsayer42
Soothsayer42

@Denshu have you seen the XBL top games played in 2011 yet? Nope? Go check it out now. No wonders with kids keep playing COD, the 360 still leads. :lol:

Cronicx-
Cronicx-

ok so just read it....big waste of time. i mean people come to GAMEspot for a reason right? GAMES. who cares about the new windows phone coming out? who the hell even has a windows phone?! no new gaming news here and disappointed :(

xXl_z3r0_lXx
xXl_z3r0_lXx

microsoft is being a bit too hasty releasing windows 8 already and starting this rumor that the next xbox is coming out. Honestly if they do that, the only thing they will accomplish is killing the 360 in it's prime. This is the most sales that the 360 has ever gotten and now they decide to release the next one? Bad choice on their part.

Cronicx-
Cronicx-

i scrolled all the way down this page and thought....i really dont feel like reading all this lol

psycho75
psycho75

Well,i play the PS3 and Xbox a lot, although a like them both i prefer my PS3,better graphics and sound...

Xplode_77
Xplode_77

Meh *continues playing video games*

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

Q:What do you get when you make a story with "Microsoft," "Sony," or "Nintendo" in the title? A: A sea of increasingly ridiculous fanboys who have no idea what they're talking about.

mdboomer
mdboomer

Nothing really new hear. Dissapointing.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Wow I don't even have Windows 7 on this desktop computer yet, and here they are already talking about Windows 8.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

If Gamespot knows that the keynote has ended and then they wrote about it, shouldn't they also know that the information they are giving is not 'Live', as they claim? Is it just an outright lie? It certainly seems that way, considering Gamespot has done this for a few years now and I have had correspondence with some of the staff and they wouldn't explain or change it.

Daian
Daian

@Denshuu Only in the US, overall the PS3 is kicking 360s ass, although that's not surprising, americans have a tendency to go with what's popular instead of what's better like they do with the iPhone for example, they see something new and shiny and they want it if somebody else already has it or says they'll get it, people do this all over the world but it's the predominant mentality in the US. In 2010 it was Wii > PS3 > 360, last year it was PS3 > 360 > Wii ( people are finally over the Wii fab). Don't need to take my word for it, google it. To "quote" you with the more accurate change "The enthusiasm is cute, but you might want to actually check out which consoles people are buying. Microsoft's been in dead last place for years, bro."

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

Sony girls are out in groves today. Is PSN down again or did Skyrim crash on you? Gotta be one or the other.

mickyfinn84
mickyfinn84

Yep i'll be switching to Sony next gen. I don't like Halo or Forza and thats about all the exclusives left on the crappy xbox.

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Another_Denshuu
Another_Denshuu

@Soothsayer42 The enthusiasm is cute, but you might want to actually check out which consoles people are buying. Sony's been in dead last place for years, bro.

Soothsayer42
Soothsayer42

Seems like everyone will go with Sony for their next Real Gaming console. Sorry Microsoft, you no longer have my faith. Long Live Play!!!

Dark_Arcitekt
Dark_Arcitekt

I will be sticking to 7.No need for a jumbled bunch of over sized icons on my PC.Doesn't work well with 360 IMO.Can't imagine having that mess on my PC.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

They're focusing on windows eight because they realize just how bad the windows 7 dashboard is operating.