Daily Archives: January 4, 2006

Bill Gates keynote at CES (that playtable rocks)

You can watch along. I’m sitting in the Bellagio with a bunch of geeks watching on a video feed. Updates to come. Oh, Engadget did a point-by-point of the keynote too (with pictures!) But, Memeorandum is the best place to go to see all the reaction from around the world.

I heard he won’t use any PowerPoint slides tonight. That’ll be interesting to see.

6:45 p.m. Bill just came out. He’s talking about winning the Time’s person of the year with his wife. Noted that in 1982 the PC won that award.
6:47. Notes that last year Microsoft saw 11% growth in Windows PCs.
6:48. Showing a futuristic home of the future screen that you can touch.
6:49. Shows off a cool holographic office screen. Shows images that wrap around you.
6:50. Demonstrates a Tablet PC that is virtually displayed along with the wrap around screen.
6:52. He’s demonstrating the PlayTable (a prototype table — someone just wrote me and said this isn’t the PlayTable. Oh, oh. Still very cool. And, I’ll definitely follow up with that team). He drops his cell phone onto a surface and images fly out of it. Wild. Oh, cool, now that the Table has been demonstrated I can talk about this. It’s no demo. It really works. It’s unbelieveable technology. How does the Tablet work? It has a projector underneath it, projecting onto holographic glass. Under the glass (you can’t see these) are two cameras that triangulate in on the surface of the glass. How does it know that Bill’s cell phone has been laid on the surface of the glass? A barcode on the bottom of Bill’s cell phone.
6:58. Bill is talking about the industry.
7:00. Windows Vista demos start.
Aaron Woodman is on stage talking about Vista. First, fresh user interface.
Live previews of applications. Switching apps is easier. Flip 3D is being shown (shows various Windows you have open in 3D interface).
Sidebar being demoed showing Gadgets. RSS feed reader in Sidebar. Dave Winer will be happy.
7:04. You can search. From the start menu.
7:05. Tabbed browsing with a twist. MSN Search done, brings up new tabs by clicking on links which opens new tabs. Then shows off quick tabs. Shows thumbnail of different tabs. Very cool.
Built in parental controls. Shows how games rating works for parents.
7:06. Experiences? New Flight Simulator being demoed. Whoa!!! Damn, that’s unbelieveable. You have to see this to believe it. Unbelieveable game experiences are coming.
7:09. Photo experiences. It shows that it always save the original photo. So, if you crop you can go back. If you change color, you can go back.
7:10. Motion video working right next to photos in new Windows media sharing app.
7:11. Windows Media Player. New UI. No long lists anymore. Resizeable icons and info. Very nice.
7:12. Van Toffler, Group President, MTV Networks is onstage. Announcing partnership. 100 CD-quality radiostations. Urge is name. Subscribers will drive the service. He used the word “sucks” on stage. Ahh, customers can tell them it sucks and they’ll listen. Two million tracks available. All you can eat OR download and buy your favorite track.
7:13. Blogging in a music service? Did I just hear that right?
7:18. Justin Timberlake just walked out on stage. Just announced his new album in conjunction with Urge.
7:21. Ttttttttaaaaaaabbbbbbblllllleeeeeeettttttt. Heheh. New Gateway Tablet shown. I’ll take a look at that tomorrow in the booth.
7:22. New passive digitizers talked about. This lets manufacturers build new kinds of devices that don’t require as much expense.
7:23. Windows Mobile. Bill is playing with the new Treo. Verizon is selling it starting tomorrow.
7:26. Messenger buddy list on new Phillips phone. Calls through Internet. Whoa. Through Windows Live Call Services. Gotta learn more about that.
7:27. Talking about TV now. Get ready for HHHHHDDDDDTTTTTTVVVVVV. Heheh. That was a note to Maryam. I wanna buy an HD screen.
7:30. Media Center. 6.5 million sold so far. 130 manufacturers.
7:31. Viiv from Intel is what Bill’s talking about now. Chip level surround sound. Dual core.
Direct TV video on Media Center. Ahh, talking is over, let’s get Joe Belfiore out here. VP of Media Center division. 15 minute tour coming.
7:34. Showing off a cool Media Center screen. You gotta watch this. It’s too hard to describe in ASCII text.
7:36. PC from Averatec. Small and quiet PC that have tuner. For less than $1000 with tuner. $499 without tuner. Sold!
7:37. Showing off new Portable Media Player. New Starz, Vongo service. Lets you buy movies and other media. Subscription!! All movies you want for $9.99 a month.
7:43. Windows Live messenger. Lets you ask for help with TV programming through IM bots. I have to wrap my head around that! “What’s on tonight?” Brings up results in another Window. Very cool.
7:46. Showing off HD-DVD on Windows Vista. Demonstrating interactivity capabilities of HD-DVD. Oh, this is cool! Get to move scenes without leaving movie. Or, get see what actors are on screen in the scenes you’re currently watching. Neat! Patrick just emailed me and said “that looks cool!”
The producer head talking on top of the movie got lots of reactions from audience around me (I’m sitting in a room at the Belagio watching this with about 100 other geeks).
7:50. Digital Cable. Applause!! Yes, we can get digital cable signals straight into Media Center. I’ve been been waiting for this. You can get premium stuff off of digital cable systems now. Will definitely check that out tomorrow.
7:55. XXXXXXXBBBBBBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOXXXXXXXXXXX
7:56. Xbox 360 launch stats. 30 countries. 4.5 to 5.5 will be sold by end of June. 4 games per console attach rate (that means Xbox 360 is selling two more games than any other console per console sold).
7:59. Announced that four million Xbox Live subscribers added.
8:01. More games coming.
8:02. HD disks announced? Yes. Later this year. Xbox 360 external HDDVD drive coming.
8:03. There it is again. HDTV. Maryam, you listening?
8:04. Boxing promoter came out. Oh, geez. Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates are gonna play an Xbox boxing game together on stage. The crowd here is eating this stuff up!
8:08. BillG beat SteveB. The replays are pretty gruesome. Knockout! New EA game, Fight Night Round 3, here’s what they were playing. Wow, Xbox Live is immediately pushing out a demo for people who have Xbox 360s to try out. That’s cool.
8:11. It’s over…

Gadget for CES

If you’re coming to CES, the Microsoft Gadget folks (hi Sanaz and team) worked with the Comdex folks to build a little CES Gadget for Live.com. That’s one of more than 140 Gadgets available for you to play with.

Update: I just loaded the gadget and it lets you look up booth numbers for the companies you want to visit. It tells me that Microsoft has four booths. Although calling them booths is a little bit of a misnomer. These things are HUGE.  

MSN’er adds to China discussion

Michael Connolly, a product unit manager on MSN Spaces, adds onto the China discussion with a post titled “Running a Service in China.” Here’s a quote from his post: “In China, there is a unique issue for our entire industry: there are certain aspects of speech in China that are regulated by the government.  We’ve made a choice to run a service in China, and to do that, we need to adhere to local regulations and laws. “