Mr Gates started by talking about the Digital Decade and how over 2 billion digital photos were taken in the last year. and how 65 percent of homes are using digital cameras are these statistics worldwide or U.S. only?).
Preparing for some of the announcements for later during the keynote, he also points out that over 40 percent of U.S. homes now have multiple personal computers and how the new generation spends more time on their PC than they spend watching TV and how information is everywhere, thanks to portable devices and connections possible thanks to 3G and Wi-Fi.
Justin Hutchinson was then called to talk to the audience about Windows Vista, the company's operating system shiping the end of this month to consumers. He showed the audience the new user interface eye candy and spent some time talking about the Ultimate Extras program. Users running the Windows Vista Ultimate version of this operating system will have access to extra programs that are available exclusively through Windows Update.
One of these new programs is DreamScene, an animated desktop that allows users to select a movie to be contantly playing in the desktop without interfering with other operations.
Justin also talked about the ShadowCopy, a feature that allows users to return documents and other files to a previous point in time, including a reference to the Vanishing Point game in the demonstration.
He continued by showing new capabilities on Microsoft Local Live service, which now includes the ability to show 3D rendering of maps and satellite imagery bringing an almost street level view of maps, thanks to Virtual Earth 3D technology that's built into Windows Live.
He then introduced SportsLounge, developed by Microsoft and FoxSports.com. The service allows sports fans to watch a live HD feed and constantly receive real-time information, and real-time scores for every sports program in a personal channel line up. The service also sends out real-time alerts about favourite players and teams.
Another feature from Windows Vista is the ability to create DVDs from media content on a PC and the GroupShot, a program that consumers can use to manipulate digitial photos and combine elements from different images to quickly fix problems or create new images.
Bill Gates was then back on stage and talked about a series of new devices coming up plus the expected announcement of Windows Home Server.
The new devices line up includes the HP TouchSmart PC, a multimedia machine with touchscreen based on an user interface similar to that present on UMPCs. He also just talked about the Toshiba Portege R400, a new tablet PC with SideShow, the feature that allows you to keep tabs on what's going on without having to turn on the PC, by using external displays. The Sony VAIO VGX-TP1 is a futuristic media centre, and the Medion UMPC is a new device in the ultra mobile PC class.
The audience then watched a short movie about digital content. The whole idea was to emphasise the amount of digital content present in our lives, and to introduce the Windows Home Server, slated to come out in the second half of 2007.
The Windows Home Server is for homes where you've got either multiple PCs, or Xboxes, with storage being available all the time to different devices. The product was developed with HP and branded as HP Media Smart Server, running the Windows Home Server software.
Features include the ability to automatically reconfigure storage when new discs are added to the box, plus manage connections inside the house. The software includes automatic backups for PCs, and connectivity for Xbox and Zune.
Robbie Bach took the stage to talk about connected entertainment and mobility in general. He told the audience how during the last year's CES Bill Gates introduced the MTV Urge music service, and how this was part of a strategy that continued with the introduction of the Zune media player.
According to Bach, the Zune is the number two player already in its mp3 player category and Microsoft is on track to ship and sell a million copies of Zune, although it's not clear in what timeline.
Microsoft declared its commitment to the platform, with promise to improve software and hardware, and the community of music around Zune. In his own words "This is a place where we are deeply committed to being successful, and you're going to see us in this space in a leadership position in the years to come."
In terms of mobility and smart devices the Cingular Blackjack from Samsung, Treo from Palm, the T-Mobile Dash from HTC, and Verizon's Motorola Q were listed as example of designs that are driving market share advances for Windows Mobile. And of course, with a stab at RIM's BlackBerry, Bach said Windows Mobile outsells RIM's messaging and communications platform.
The show wouldn't be complete without game. On-line game, individual gaming, multi-player gaming. The star of the show was a video of Halo 3 to come out soon. The video showed realistic images, great sound and music.
Gaming was a big part of the keynote. From the announcement of IPTV for Xbox 360, to the introduction of Xbox Live for PC. This new service allows users playing PC games with equivalent titles on the Xbox Live network to join and play games with other on-line gamers even if they are using different platforms.
The keynote finished with Bill Gates introducing concepts taken from the Microsoft Home of the Future, an exhibition in the Microsoft Campus which is just being revamped, with things Microsoft thinks could be present in a typical home, in the next decade.
An interesting keynote, and surprisingly bug free. This year we had no blue screen, infrared remote controls problems, delayed networking and alike. Everything worked smoothly and the audience was taken with some of the new concepts introduced.
The crowd specially liked the Windows Home Server concept design and features, certainly loved the new visual introduced with features such as DreamScene and was taken by the 3D map views shown with Local Live.
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