CES 2011: Windows 8 on ARM SoC, Phone 7 updates, tablets

Steve Ballmer (Der Tommy @ Picasaweb)
By Richi Jennings. January 6, 2011.

In Las Vegas, Microsoft kicked off CES 2011 with a big, bald, Steve Ballmer appearance. The keynote included Windows 8, ported to ARM systems-on-a-chip, Windows Phone 7 enhancements, and some new tablet form-factors. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers get all hot and sweaty.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention The neatest trick I've seen all year...


Nancy Gohring fries an egg on it:

Microsoft ... showed off several upcoming Windows 7 PCs with unusual designs. One of them, from Acer, had two large touch-screens connected together like a notebook. ... A Samsung laptop with a screen that can slide closed over the top of the keyboard ... the screen faces out so it can be used as a tablet.


Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ... told the audience how the next version of Windows ... will be available for the Arm chip architecture ... [which] typically allows for better battery life and are used in devices like mobile phones and tablets.


Ballmer also talked up the launch of Windows Phone 7. ... Microsoft will push out a series of updates. ... The first will offer them the ability to cut and paste ... other updates will include performance improvements.

Nick Eaton adds:

Ballmer ... explained that most people he talks to like Windows Phone 7 and its novel user interface -- they just have to play around with it first. ... More people will have the opportunity when Windows Phone 7 devices launch on Verizon and Sprint, ... during the first half of 2011.


A few Windows 7 tablets have been announced in Las Vegas, but Microsoft apparently is letting those companies do the CES legwork. ... Microsoft decided to focus on its announcement that it's working on a new version of Windows that supports the low-power chips found in most mobile devices.

Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc had an exciting day:

Windows 7 is a little over a year old ... with over 240 million licenses sold – selling over 7 copies a second. ... Almost 20% of all PCs connected to the Internet.


If you missed the Microsoft CES Keynote with Steve Ballmer tonight, you can watch it on-demand on the official Microsoft Facebook page.

But here's Mary Jo Foley's gap analysis:

The more interesting bits were what Ballmer didn’t say. ... He didn’t offer Windows Phone 7 sales numbers. ... He didn’t offer any new Windows 7 sales figures. ... He didn’t have anything [new] to say about how Microsoft plans to address the slate market.


The most intriguing thing about Ballmer’s keynote address, to me, was his closing: “Whatever device you use, now or in the future, Windows will be there.”

Peter Bright shines a light on the ARM port:

The next version of Windows ... will support certain ARM system-on-chip (SoC) designs from NVIDIA [Tegra] ... Texas Instruments [OMAP 4] ... and Qualcomm [Snapdragon]. ... But beyond that, details were scant.


ARM SoCs may offer better performance in small power envelopes than x86 SoCs, but at best that translates to a moderate increase in battery life. ... "Lots of under the hood changes" are being made to bring Windows to ARM, so perhaps those changes ... will make Windows 8's high hardware demands a nonissue. ... With a likely release date of 2012, it's hard to imagine victory. Why wait for Windows in 2012 when I can have iOS or Android right now?.

Rik Myslewski decodes the talking points:

The reason for adding SoC support, Ballmer said, was consumer demand. ... "Customers expect ... the power and breadth of software that is available for today's laptop... in addition to the basics: printing, and support for all of the hardware devices and peripherals."


A not-so-subtle dig at Apple's game-changing but limited iPad. ... Microsoft VP Mike Angiulo ... demoed a laptop powered by a Texas Instrument's OMAP processor ... he printed out a page on ... [an] Epson USB printer with a recompiled ARM driver. Printed on the page in large letters was the text: "I'm a PC. Of course I can print!"

And Finally...

The neatest trick I've seen all year!

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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