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Thursday, January 06, 2011
CES: Microsoft Announces OS Support For SoC Architectures, Enhancements to Windows Phone 7, New Smart Tecnology Products


Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, giving his annual keynote speech to kick off the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), provided updates on Kinect for Xbox 360 and Windows Phone, and also previewed several new Windows PC devices coming to market.

"(It) was a very, very exciting year for our customers," Ballmer said. "We launched Windows Phone 7, Office 2010, and Kinect, and we introduced Internet Explorer 9 and Office 365. We saw great growth in our Bing and Azure services, and with the amazing success of Windows 7, it's truly been a year like none other."

Microsoft has sold 50 million Xbox 360s to date and the number of the Xbox LIVE members has reached the 30 million, Balmer said. Talking about the Windows Phone 7, he said that 5,500 Apps are available in the Windows Phone 7 marketplace, 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 devices have been sold by phone manufacturers in the first six weeks after launch and that 60 mobile operators are carrying Windows Phone 7. Regarding Windows 7, he said that 7 Windows 7 licenses are sold every second, while the number of Internet Explorer 9 beta downloads has reached the 20 million so far.

Biggest Year Ever for Xbox

At CES, Microsoft also announced new Kinect-enabled experiences that aim to transform entertainment in the living room. A new experience called Avatar Kinect will bring a player's avatar to life in a whole new way, using facial recognition technology to let a person not only control their avatar's movements but also their expressions; when they smile, frown, nod and speak, the avatar will do the same.



Microsoft will continue to take Kinect's controller-free experience beyond gaming and into entertainment throughout the year. This spring, Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers will be able to use Kinect to control their Netflix experience. Viewers will be able to pause, rewind and fast-forward their streaming movies with only their voice or gestures.

The company also announced that this spring, Hulu Plus will come to Xbox LIVE as a Kinect-enabled experience. As with Netflix, subscribers will be able to use controller-free motion and voice capabilities to instantly watch full screen popular TV shows anytime in HD.

Enhancements to Windows Phone 7

Ballmer also announced that Microsoft will release a series of Windows Phone 7 updates over the next few months, including adding the copy-and-paste feature and improving the phone's performance when loading or switching between applications. Microsoft also is working to make Windows Phone 7 available from Sprint and Verizon in the first half of 2011, and more languages will become available later this year.

Manufacturers sold more than 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 phones in the first six weeks of availability, said Aaron Woodman, director of the Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft.



Also during Ballmer's keynote speech, Microsoft unveiled the next generation of Microsoft Surface, built upon a new technology that enables thin LCD screens to "see" without the use of cameras.

Created in partnership with Samsung, the Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface is a major step forward in the surface computing category. It incorporates all the key features of the original Surface product - a massive multi-touch experience, the ability to recognize fingers, hands, and objects - as well as a new technology that has enabled a more flexible form factor.



Samsung SUR40 is expected to bring companies around the world new ways to help drive sales and showcase their brand. The product features include these:

- PixelSense. PixelSense gives an LCD display the power to recognize fingers, hands and objects placed on the screen, including more than 50 simultaneous touch points. With PixelSense, pixels in the display see what?s touching the screen and that information is immediately processed and interpreted.

- Microsoft Surface software. Microsoft Surface software provides business customers with a touch-first experience for their end users, built on the principles of direct interaction and together computing, with a new look and feel. It also allows commercial application developers to use a new version of the Microsoft Surface SDK and familiar Microsoft development tools to take full advantage of the multitouch and object recognition capabilities of PixelSense.

- The product is designed to meet the challenges of active usage in demanding locations such as retail, hospitality and education.

- The product is four inches thin, which makes it easy to use horizontally, hang vertically with the VESA mount, or embed in walls or custom enclosures. Standard legs are available or customers can design and attach their own.

- Forty-inch full high-definition (HD) 1080p screen.

- The product uses the embedded AMD Athlon II X2 Dual-Core Processor 2.9GHz paired with the AMD Radeon HD 6700M Series GPU featuring DirectX 11 support.

The manufacturer?s suggested price for Samsung SUR40 starts at $7,600 (U.S.). Samsung SUR40 will be available later in 2011 in 23 countries, Microsoft said.

Microsoft's Multitouch Mouse

Microsoft also unveiled the Touch Mouse, a new multitouch device designed for Windows 7 that lets people click, flick, scroll and swipe, making it easy and fun to interact with their PCs. Born from the Mouse 2.0 project conducted by Microsoft Research and the Applied Sciences Group, the Touch Mouse combines the virtues of a mouse with the rich natural language of gesture that lets people interact with Windows 7 in a more intuitive way.

Touch Mouse lets people do everything they are used to doing with a mouse, such as point and click, but also adds gestures with one, two or three fingers to amplify the Windows 7 operating system by creating simple shortcuts to the tasks people want to do most.



- One finger lets people manage individual documents or pages by flicking to quickly scroll, pan and tilt, and one thumb lets people move back or forward through a Web browser.

- Two fingers manage windows, letting people maximize, minimize, snap and restore them.

- Three fingers let people navigate their whole desktop, showing instant viewer or clearing their desktop.

The Touch Mouse is equipped with BlueTrack Technology, letting consumers track on virtually any surface, and the tiny Nano transceiver is so small it never needs to come out of the USB port.

Touch Mouse will be available in June 2011 for the estimated retail price of $79.95 (U.S.).

Next Version of Windows Will Run on System on a Chip (SoC) Architectures from Intel, AMD and ARM

Earlier in the day, Microsoft also announced that the next version of Windows will support System on a Chip (SoC) architectures including ARM-based systems from partners NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments as well as x86 systems from Intel and AMD.

Microsoft demonstrated the next version of Windows running on new SoC platforms from Intel running on x86 architecture and from NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments on ARM architecture. The technology demonstration included Windows client support across a range of scenarios, such as hardware-accelerated graphics and media playback, hardware-accelerated Web browsing with the latest Microsoft Internet Explorer, USB device support, printing and other features customers have come to expect from their computing experience. Microsoft Office running natively on ARM was also shown as a demonstration of the potential of Windows platform capabilities on ARM architecture.

Intel and AMD continue to evolve and improve the x86 platforms, including new low-power systems, and advance new designs such as the recently announced 2nd Generation Intel Core processor family and AMD's Fusion accelerated processing units (APUs). NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are joining Microsoft to provide ARM-based designs for the first time.

SoC architectures consolidate the major components of a computing device onto a single package of silicon. This consolidation enables smaller, thinner devices while reducing the amount of power required for the device, increasing battery life and making possible always-on and always-connected functionality.


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Motorola Unveils The Xoom Tablet Computer, CLIQ 2 DROID BIONIC and ATRIX 4G Smartphones        All News        Philips CES 2011 HD Lineup Includes New LCDs, Blu-ray players and Home Theater Systems
Yahoo Adds Interactivity Features On Connected TV     General Computing News      Qualcomm to Acquire Atheros For 3.1 Billion Dollars

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