Bill blows it with final CES speech
By Barry Collins in Las Vegas
Posted on 7 Jan 2008 at 04:37
Will Bill Gates provide one last shock in his final CES speech, was the question we posed in our pre-show coverage. The answer was yes, but not in a good way.
The Microsoft chairman bowed out of CES with a whimper, failing to announce a single new product of any great significance.
The thousands of CES attendees who had queued all afternoon to hear the Microsoft boss were treated to little more than a humorous farewell video, demonstrations of previously announced products and a guest appearance from Slash from Guns N Roses.
After a year in which Vista has failed to impress, Windows Mobile has had its thunder stolen by the iPhone and the Xbox 360 has been usurped by Nintendo's Wii, the CES faithful were hoping for something big from Gates. He disappointed. Massively.
The closest we came to a new product was the announcement that BT is teaming up with Microsoft to use the Xbox 360 as a television set-top box, presumably as an additional part of its BT Vision service.
And to drive a further nail into the HD DVD coffin, the heavily-rumoured Xbox 360 with built-in HD DVD drive failed to materialise.
So what did Gates fill his hour-long speech with? He began by outlining his vision for the "second digital decade". The next ten years will consist of three key elements, he claimed.
Firstly, there will be HD experiences everywhere. "You won't just have a computer on your desk, but in the desk," Gates claimed. "The quality of rendering will be very, very rich... 3D environments will exist for many web experiences, [such as] walking through a store or meeting people in a 3D environment."
The second plank of Gates's three-part vision is that these rich services will all take place in an online environment. "If you pick up a device and authenticate who you are... it will be very simple to get up and running," Gates claimed. He also talked of a "digital memory application" that will collate your photos, experiences and personal landmarks.
The third element is a natural user interface. "The first digital decade was largely based around the keyboard and mouse," Gates said. He then cited Windows Tablet PCs and the iPhone as examples of interfaces that are breaking away from the traditional mould."Pen, touch, visual recognition - all of these come together to create very new experiences," Gates predicted.
So far, so dull. What about the legendary CES demonstrations? Gates largely left these to his sidekicks. We saw a demonstration of a Windows Mobile service called Tell Me, which allows people to say "movies", for example, into their handset, and the phone uses location-based services to bring up a list of local cinemas and films showing there. Another voice command allows the caller to order tickets, and send a text message to a friend with a map of the cinema.
Microsoft's entertainment division president, Robbie Bach, also demonstrated how the Zune player can synchronise its music with new Ford cars and elements of the Zune Social online music community service. He also let it slip that Microsoft would begin selling Zunes outside of the US for the first time, but only in Canada from this Spring.
Is your business a social business? For helpful info and tips visit our hub.
- Windows 8.2: release date, features and free cloud version
- iPad sales stall as owners "too happy to upgrade"
- iPhone 6 features, specs and UK release date: when does the iPhone 6 launch?
- iWatch UK release date, specs and price rumours: when is the iWatch coming to the UK?
- Killing the Surface Mini hit revenues, Microsoft reveals
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- I went to Glastonbury and the only thing that got high was my smartphone
- Meet the robots helping teach children
- PaperLater: would you pay to print the internet?
- Amazon vs Kobo: how much to make the ebook switch?
- Phishing emails: how I nearly got caught out
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy
- Raspberry Pi and Wolfram: a must-have for every child
- Could you get by with Office Web Apps?