Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, opened his keynote at CES 2012 this evening with a fun video with soundbites from previous CES keynotes. Then, Ryan Seacrest took the stage to talk about what’s happening in the tech industry and for Microsoft along with Ballmer.
Ballmer says Microsoft has an opportunity to raise their game across a number of devices and experiences, with the key experience of Metro design language. (Metro enables a user experience with pretty and functional typography, motion, animation, and transitions, along with full-bleed content.
Below are the key points from the keynote.
1. Windows Phone: All phones today make calls, connect to the Internet, blah, blah, blah, but Windows Phone puts people first (people hub), following by the apps and tools that are most important to you. Windows Phones are available in different colors, front-facing cameras, and water resistant styles — and they’re all on Windows Phone software. People Hub lets you create groups and then see their info and their activity in social networks or pictures shared by each particular group that you setup. Facebook Chat and Windows Live Messenger are integrated, which means you’re able to respond to a Facebook message with a voice IM to a contact’s mobile. Also, since Bing is integrated, it’s possible to search for a restaurant and make a reservation “automagically” if you’ve got the Open Table app installed.
2. Windows PC: Windows 7 PCs available now. Ballmer said Intel has done a lot to make PCs more efficient. In talking about Windows 8, they explained how it’s possible to use picture passwords rather than a text password. Touch a few points on your picture, and you’re logged in. Windows 8 designed to work by touch or with a mouse and keyboard using “charms.” Charms–think icons–that can be swiped in to launch apps from the top, bottom, or side. Charms can also be used to share different content with others with a “Share” charm.
The Windows Store will be the location for people to get apps, opening in late February. Businesses and consumers will be able to use the store for work or fun. Plus, apps are sortable into groups for different purposes. So you could create a kid-friendly group of apps. Windows 8 beta will be available in late February, but Windows 7 PCs will be able to upgrade easily to Windows 8.
Next there was an “intermission” of sorts with the Tweet Choir — a group of singers promoting hashtags and URLs. Think church choir in robes, but instead of singing hymns, they’re singing social news from Twitter.
3. XBox: It’s your entertainment hub now and not just for games. Games, movies, TV, and social network friends all live in this one place. Plus, the only controller you’ll need is your voice. With Bing integrated, it will be possible to search across all of this different type of content. Comcast will be launching Infinity on XBox. Fox channels will also be on demand content on XBox in 2012…so think Bones, House, Simpsons, etc. coming in 2012.
Next they previewed Microsoft Kinect integrated with Sesame Street, which enables you to play along with live TV. Looks like fun!
In other Microsoft project news, Ballmer mentioned Sync with Ford, Office 2012, Office 365 in the Cloud, and Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Skype.
What’s next in 2012? Ballmer says it’s all about…”Metro, Metro, Metro and Windows, Windows, Windows!”