Before introducing a flashy Windows Vista, Bill Gates started off his Consumer Electronics Show keynote walking through a digital lifestyle scenario that he said would be a reality by 2010. The scenario starts in the morning with a large touch screen that includes various kind of data and applications-- the kids' drawings, a video application (similar to CNN Pipeline) and maps with locations of various family members (you can track your kids progress to school). He showed how he could initiate an alert on the touch screen and send the video feed to his cell phone. Then Gates moved a few feet and was at work, with a huge screen that included about four large LCD panels across a large desk, encompassing his entire field of vision. He demoed collaboration, including video, IM, document sharing and other conferencing capabilities, many of which exist today.
Gates keynoting at CES
Finally, the scenario took him to the airport with only his cell phone. This was that hottest part of the demo. He laid the phone a special table (Microsoft researcher Andy Wilson's PlayAnywhere interactive tabletop projection vision system) with cameras and wireless connectivity. It recognized his (Windows-based) cell phone, and popped up a virtual desktop, allowed him to log in via his thumbprint and do some work. He scanned a business card and then dragged it over the contact application (or apparition) on the tabletop. Very cool. It may be ready for Bill and his friends in 2010, but not for the masses.
Gates' mantra was that "software is at the center," and having all devices work together with ease--a "cross-device approach." He also announced a deal with MTV (including an appearance by Justin Timberlake who suggested he and Bill do a duet--"artistry and technology"), promoted the Tablet PC and the Palm Treo 700 and Motorola Q, which both use Windows Mobile. He also touched on the Windows Live theme: "Everything is moving to the Internet--you have to have confidence in these things, backed up, secure and reliable and easy to connect to people and devices."
He also talked about the shift in TV, becoming more personalized with targeted content, ads and interactivity. AT&T and Verizon are rolling out commercial deployments of video platform services this year, Gates said. And, that's where Media Center comes in, he added. He said Microsoft had 6.5 million copies of Media Center in existence (in use?) and 130 manufacturers supporting it, including Intel and Direct TV. News.com's Ina Fried has the details on the various announcements and demos, including HD-DVD. Engadget has the play-by-play, with photos, of the keynote.