The Microsoft Keynote is one that is not for the ages. If you have seen the Microsoft Build conference there really isn’t much to see here except for a couple of things – like Steve Balmer trying to contain himself from his next war cry for developers.
Once Ryan Seacrest got on stage after an autotuned montage of old keynotes, he grilled Balmer a bit on the status of Windows Phone and Balmer was nothing short of being excited for the platform. His pride for Windows Phone is with merit though considering the rave reviews the platform has received but for the most part understood the hill (if not a mountain) Windows Phone had to climb within the next few months.
HP, Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba got a chance to show off their new form factor laptops (aka Ultrabooks) to the public – all of which have been announced in earlier press conferences including the CES Unveiled. They’re attractive and their suggested price points might help boost their already impressive numbers. The ultrabook models on stage included the Samsung 900X 3D, Sony VAIO Z, Asus Zenbook UX21, Acer Aspire S3, Toshiba Portege Z830, Lenovo IdeaPad U300, HP Envy 14.
We will get our hands on these
laptops Ultrabooks within the next couple of days so stay tuned.
Microsoft’s Derick Snyder went through a couple of demos that are on the Mango update and if you haven’t seen them in action, check them out here – which was demonstrated in detail by Joe Belfiore back in May 2011.
The demo covers App Connect, The People Hub, Local Scout, Multitasking and Groups.
One surprising stat I heard was another WP handset which hit the stage (HTC titan) boasting a 16MP camera
Kinect With XBox Live
Not much here except more demonstrations of Voice Search and Interactive TV in partnership with Sesame Street.
XBox – The All-in-one system
With FiOS and Comcast now on board, Microsoft does not necessarily cut off the cable box or even cable TV entirely. Instead, Microsoft is now aiming to create more space in your entertainment center. Of course, no conversation about XBox isn’t complete without having to talk about Kinect. To date, Kinect has sold about 18 million units and on a related note Microsoft plans to extend Kinect to Windows PCs as early as February 1st.
Windows 8 details
More details of Windows 8 went out but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. What was interesting was the spec of the tablet they demonstrated Windows 8 on – an i5 Intel-based Tegra 3 tablet. The demonstration showed off the purchasing process of buying Cut The Rope built using HTML5. Semantic zoom was also a new standout feature I found useful as well as the metrostyle Internet Explorer.
The Tweet Choir
Just to add a little bit of soul to the show,we went through a Sister Act bit where the Tweet Choir is ripping up the stage with some impressive harmonic vocals and lyrics based on actual tweets and hashtags that not only received a lot of laughs but tons of applause as well.
Sadly, some felt that Microsoft should have went out with a bang considering that this maybe their last keynote for CES and looking back at it now there really was nothing groundbreaking to launch. Victor brought up the point of just avoiding this last conference altogether and save themselves not only from the expense but from the expectation that Microsoft must raise the bar because of the timing of these keynotes. I agree.