Microsoft updates Kinect, offers sneak peak of Windows 8 running on mobile hardware


CES is just beginning, and Microsoft was favored to be a high point of the event. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer gave the opening keynote conference tonight in Las Vegas, summarizing the company’s impressive year as well as what it has to offer in the near future.

Xbox and Kinect updates

As can be expected, Ballmer directed a significant amount of attention to the success (eight million sold in the first two months according to Ballmer) and upcoming developments of Microsoft’s motion-gaming device Kinect. After singing its praises and uttering the “you are the controller” tagline one too many times, Ballmer brought up Microsoft executive Ron Forbes to introduce the next step for the product. This spring, users will be able to use Kinect’s motion detection as well as voice command to control services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Xbox Live.

And these weren’t the only updates to Microsoft’s gaming platform, as Forbes also explained bolstered Xbox Live and ESPN capabilities that center on the social element.

While these features are impressive, Ballmer also touched on Avatar Kinect, a facial recognition program coming to Kinect. After getting a glimpse at Intel’s avatar development (which is purely experimental – for now) it failed to impress. The system seems to be primarily used for group chat and social media purposes and left something to be desired.

Windows Phone 7

Microsoft took this chance to remind consumers that the Windows 7 Phone is a viable mobile option. There were no features introduced, save two updates that will add copy and paste and also significantly improve performance while loading or switching applications. These are due in the coming months and will automatically be pushed out to users. The phone will also be available to Sprint and Verizon customers at the beginning of 2011.

PCs and tablets…sort of

Of course, what we’ve all been waiting for is the mythical Microsoft tablet. Analysts have said the company needs a competent device to stay in the game, and it’s half way taking that advice. Ballmer and executive Mike Anguilo acknowledged that consumers want their technology in multiple forms of hardware, and with that in mind are delivering various products, including a fully powered Asus tablet PC with a stylus pen and handwriting recognition capabilities. Anguilo also debuted one product that got an audible reaction from the crowd: a dual screen, multi-touch PC. The two Gorilla glass screens are hinged together and users are given an optional touch pad keyboard if desired.

In homage to its original CES beginnings, Microsoft also brought back the Surface. Developed with the help of Samsung and housed in a sleeker, 4-inch-thin body, the new and improved Surface PC is made of many, many infrared sensors that use a newly-developed technology dubbed “pixel sense” to work as multiple cameras to create a “beyond touch” experience. Those excited over the idea of a giant tablet, however, be warned: it was clear this is a product Microsoft intends to keep marketing towards the corporate sector.

Windows running on ARM

Though we had a fair idea what was coming in Windows 8, we never would have guessed Microsoft would move it off the  will be compatible and run natively on ARM processors, including chips from NVIDIA, AMD, Texas Instruments, and Qualcomm, utilizing SoC technology. This demo revealed a very, very early look at Windows 8 (no UI details included) and showed its high compatibility with different processor architectures.

Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?

Microsoft’s Always-Connected PCs gets more powerful with 64-bit app support

Microsoft announced that developers can start creating 64-bit apps for Always-Connected PCs powered by Snapdragon processors. The Windows Store will also begin to accept 64-bit app submissions for Microsoft's Windows on ARM.
Product Review

If the Surface Studio 2 can't win over Mac fans, nothing can

Most creative professionals are staunchly planted in the Apple camp, but with the Surface Studio 2, Microsoft is making a serious attempt to win them over. Despite its niche appeal, you’ll wish you had a few grand to drop on this beauty.

Xbox One adds mouse and keyboard support, levels playing field with PC

The latest system software update for Xbox One has added mouse and keyboard support. The support is limited to Warframe and Fortnite at the moment, with more games coming in November and December.

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.

Want to gift a Steam game so you can play with a friend? Here's how to do it

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Multi-monitor issues? Here's how to resolve them

If you're running into multi-monitor problems, you're not alone. Two screens are very useful, but they can present some difficulties. Here are some common multi-monitor problems and how to fix them.

Capture screenshots with print screen and a few alternative methods

Capturing a screenshot of your desktop is easier than you might think, but it's the kind of thing you'll probably need to know. Here's how to perform the important function in just a few, easy steps.

The best MacBook deals for November 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…

All the best deals on Surface products for Black Friday

A number of retailers are discounting Surface devices for Black Friday. Be it the Surface Pro 2017, Surface Pro 6, or the Surface Go, here's a look at how (and where) you can save big on Surface this holiday season.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.