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Microsoft keynote at CES 2011: Kinect social, Hulu Plus, IE9, New Surface

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Microsoft announced Avatar Kinect tonight during their CES presentation. Simply enough, the Kinect will follow your facial features as far as talking, mouth gestures, eyebrow movements and more as you are represented in a visual chatroom of sorts. The trailer that Microsoft played showed the option of picking from different settings (sports event, doodle city, forest and a few others) and sitting around just hanging out with friends… Very Second-Life ish. They did not go into great detail as far as the extent of Avatar Kinect but Microsoft did announce it will be released in the Spring for Gold LIVE Members for free.

A slew of new Kinect features were presented in addition to the Avatar Kinect including Netflix (finally), Hulu Plus services and a new interactive ESPN interface that includes trash talking and voting on your picks for the big game.

Besides talking up the next update for the Xbox 360 console and its Kinect peripheral, Microsoft took time to brag on its own successes stating that they were aiming to sell 5 million Kinect units and have so far sold 8 million, reminding everyone of the 30 million Xbox LIVE users, and going into lots and lots of detail about how friggin’ awesome Windows Phone 7 is. A quote from CEA Ballmer himself:

We pulled together the best of Office, Windows, Xbox, Xbox Live, Bing, and more to focus on building a great phone. The reaction to the product has been great. We launched 9 phones across 60 countries. In the past few weeks alone, we’ve added great new titles: Kindle, Bank of America, Fruit Ninja — there are already 5500 apps in the Marketplace. 100 apps a day. 20,000 devs have registered with us.

In a word? Wow. Truly spectacular for such a new mobile platform. (They want us to forget how terrible the previous Windows Mobile OS was… and so far they are succeeding with WP7.) The only release information for WP7 is the minor update “NoDo” (which is a stab at Android 1.6 codenamed Donuts) that will include Copy/Paste and speed up general performance. The first substantial update has been dubbed “Mango” and will essentially be Windows Phone 7.5 when it is released in the Spring.

Beyond the Kinect and Windows Phone 7, which are two very hot topics these days, the next installment of Internet Explorer was mentioned, although brevity plagued this part of the presentation. Simply, Ballmer stated the fact that 20 million people had downloaded the beta of IE9. The official release will include HTML5 and hardware accelerated graphics.

The last object of interest during Microsoft’s keynote I shall quote from Engadget’s liveblog:

7:32PM New Surface is out now — this is the version that we saw earlier with the crazy PixelSense tech which is able to use each pixel as an individual camera, which means you can put a piece of paper on the display, and it will read the text you’ve written on it. The screen also uses infrared sensors for touch input.

Now I personally have no idea what this is, and the demo at the conference only revealed the fact that the Surface knew 20 “digits” were being pressed against it. It reminded me of the fact that we are getting closer and closer to Minority Report-esque navigation. And… as a side note Microsoft noted this is staying commercially exclusive. No New Surface on consumer tablets ūüė¶

[Sources: WinRumors, Engadget, Gizmodo, PC Magazine]

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avatarKINECT, a sneak peak of Microsoft’s Wednesday reveal

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

The CES 2011 in Las Vegas is described as:

The International CES is the industry’s largest educational forum to help companies expand their businesses and understand new technology. Approximately 300¬†sessions and 900 expert speakers encompass International CES conference tracks and SuperSessions to discuss hot industry trends and topics.

Keynote¬†addresses feature executives from the world’s largest and most successful companies and result in remarkable media coverage for the speakers. CEOs rank the CES as one of their top 10 most desired speaking opportunities, according to a Burson-Marsteller Most Valued Podium survey.

(Straight from their website.) The event this year is being held all week and I will be following it, writing about the best of the best. The first juicy bit of info comes from Gizmodo, as they have mysteriously come up with a behind the scenes photo from the Microsoft stage (seen above). WinRumors confirmed their suspicions that Avatar Kinect is a software update

delivered over Xbox LIVE, [that] will allow Kinect owners to interact with each other using their avatars. The avatars will have a separate area, much like Nintendo’s Mii channel, that will allow for users to control them using Kinect and interact to watch content or play games.

Microsoft will fill us in with all the details when they take the stage on Wednesday night.

Categories: News Tags: , , , , , ,

avatarKINECT, a sneak peak of Microsoft's Wednesday reveal

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

The CES 2011 in Las Vegas is described as:

The International CES is the industry’s largest educational forum to help companies expand their businesses and understand new technology. Approximately 300¬†sessions and 900 expert speakers encompass International CES conference tracks and SuperSessions to discuss hot industry trends and topics.

Keynote¬†addresses feature executives from the world’s largest and most successful companies and result in remarkable media coverage for the speakers. CEOs rank the CES as one of their top 10 most desired speaking opportunities, according to a Burson-Marsteller Most Valued Podium survey.

(Straight from their website.) The event this year is being held all week and I will be following it, writing about the best of the best. The first juicy bit of info comes from Gizmodo, as they have mysteriously come up with a behind the scenes photo from the Microsoft stage (seen above). WinRumors confirmed their suspicions that Avatar Kinect is a software update

delivered over Xbox LIVE, [that] will allow Kinect owners to interact with each other using their avatars. The avatars will have a separate area, much like Nintendo’s Mii channel, that will allow for users to control them using Kinect and interact to watch content or play games.

Microsoft will fill us in with all the details when they take the stage on Wednesday night.

Categories: News Tags: , , , , , ,