It turns out all the talk of Microsoft not being at this year’s CES was all for naught. Microsoft is all over the place, and it was punctuated on the opening day with the unannounced appearance of Microsoft’s top dog Steve Ballmer in the midst of Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs’ keynote. Jacobs had started with the announcements that covered Qualcomm’s achievements in the mobile market, providing chips in devices in smartphones and tablets – 11 billion parts in the lifetime of the company. He mentions Microsoft, and that’s when Ballmer emerges with his famous vigor and proudly throwing about the advantages of Windows tablets, while reminding everyone that they are currently the only such devices that can run Microsoft Office.
“You can have some fun but also be productive”
Ballmer showed off a few of the new devices built with Qualcomm’s components and Windows 8, including the Lumia 920 Windows 8 smartphone, HTC’s Windows 8 smartphone, the Samsung Ativ, and Dell’s XPS notebook.
This new world of computing is on display this week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, from chipsets, to materials, hinges, touch panels, rotating displays, beautiful new designs and new capabilities in Windows 8.
The PCs and devices we’re seeing come to market are increasingly mobile and much more powerful. When Windows 8 launched in October, we talked about 1,000 PCs and devices that had been certified for Windows 8. There are now more than 1,500 with more expected in the weeks and months to come. The breadth of innovation continues as our hardware partners deliver new Windows 8 devices and experiences that are tuned for play and work.
They run down the list: Asus has a lightweight ultraportable, low-cost offering. Sony has a feature-packed VAIO product that features gesture control and high quality video. TV manufacturer Vizio has entered the computer market with a thin line of portable touchscreen notebooks and all-in-one systems. Samsung is releasing two new cutting edge models that are strong on features such as thin profiles, and high performance. Lenovo’s IdeaCentre Horizon table PC, which I briefly discussed on yesterday’s SiliconANGLE NewsDesk segment, offers a new gaming experience and high performance platform. Lenovo’s ThinkPad Helix, also discussed in the same news segment, is a convertible that features 4G and NFC technology that is configurable in a number of ways from touchpad to fully docked. Dell is also offering a series of Windows 8 systems that are inspired to thin design while making jumps in performance. HP is offering a Windows 8 lineup that features AMD processor-based systems rich on features and integration. Toshiba has announced their Qosmio X875 high performance focused machines.
Indeed, despite Microsoft’s prior statements that they would no longer have a significant presence at the annual event, we have evidence to the contrary this year. It also adds credence to the notion that Microsoft is incredibly collaborative with their partner environment to deliver exciting new computing products to the consumer and business alike. The importance of that relationship couldn’t be any clearer with the wealth of announcements and the appearance of Mr. Ballmer himself, especially at this critical time in Microsoft’s history.