It’s the end of an era. Microsoft announced last month that this year’s Consumer Electronics Show keynote will be the company’s last for the foreseeable future. The show definitely won’t be the same without Microsoft’s chief executive officer Steve Ballmer kicking things off with his unique brand of charisma, but all good things must come to an end. According to reports, Microsoft won’t have anything big to announce at this year’s keynote. Instead, Ballmer will recap the strong year Microsoft had in 2011 and discuss the company’s core consumer-facing products moving into 2012 including Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox and more. Mr. Ballmer always puts on a show, however, and we’re sure he’ll toss in a few surprises to keep things interesting. The keynote kicks off at 9:30 p.m. Eastern / 6:30 p.m. Pacific, so hit the break to follow all the action — and Ballmeresque yelling — as it unfolds.
10:44PM:That’s all folks thanks for joining us!
10:44PM:“And of course, Windows! Windows! Windows”
10:44PM:Metro will be huge for Microsoft across all of its platforms. In 2012 what’s next? “Metro Metro Metro!”
10:43PM:There’s nothing more important at Microsoft than Windows.
10:42PM:The final question: What’s next? “Windows 8 is what’s next!”
10:42PM:Bing has a 30% market share in combination with Yahoo in the U.S.
10:42PM:We’re just going over a few of Microsoft’s other projects. Skype users have used more than 300 billion minutes in the last year.
10:41PM:Microsoft Office 2010 is the fastest selling Office version in the history of Office.
10:40PM:Microsoft is working with more than 200 companies including United Health Group, Toyota, Mattel, American Express, Boeing and many more.
10:40PM:Kinect is coming to Windows on February 1st. Pretty big news there folks.
10:39PM:“Just as Kinect revolutionized entertainment, we’ll see it revolutionize other industries. Education, healthcare and many many more.”
10:39PM:“The number of things you can do with interactive entertainment, video interactivity together..it’s going to be amazing.” – Ballmer
10:38PM:In this demo the young girl is part of the Sesame Street show and she’s interacting with the virtual objects around her.
10:37PM:Now Elmo is taking the stage. Same sort of interactive demo going on.
10:35PM:They are “watching and playing” Sesame Street. Elmo introduced a move of the day “throw” anda number “4”. Now when elmo spills his coconuts children can act and pretend to throw coconuts at Elmo to help him collect them again. You have to see it to understand it better, but the concept is cool.
10:34PM:Microsoft took the current episodes from Sesame Street to turn them into fully interactive experiences. You can use your voice to interact with the show.
10:33PM:Sesame Street Kinect TV just took the stage to demo two-way TV. Are there any kids in the audience?
10:32PM:“We’re working with some of the best known creative artists and production companies to create..
10:32PM:Fox will add Family Guy, The Simpsons, House and more. The new content should be available in 2012.
10:31PM:Comcast Xfinity on Demand’s library will soon be launching on Xbox. There’s also a new News Corp partnership that will bring The WSJ, Fox content, and IGN to the Xbox video library.
10:30PM:Now we’re seeing how a Lumia 900 with the Windows Xbox Companion can be used to control the Xbox. We’ve tried this at home with a different device and it actually works quite well.
10:27PM:We just saw a demo for searching for Harry Potter using Kinect. It works well.
10:26PM:We’re going to see Kinect’s voice controls. These are all features that are already available to all Kinect and Xbox owners.
10:26PM:Greg Davison from Microsoft’s Xbox team is taking the stage to show us what’s new from Xbox (the software update that landed in December).
10:25PM:18 million Kinect Sensors shipped over the past year.
10:25PM:But Ballmer does promise something “even more different” so maybe we’ll get lucky.
10:24PM:Now we’re going to see an overview of the new Xbox software. This is all just a big recap..
10:24PM:“Did I expect it 10 years ago? No. But I bet on it 10 years ago.”
10:24PM:Ten years later we’re the world sales leader. We have over 66 billion Xbox users. perhaps the most amazing things is we have over more than 40 million xbox live subscribers tuning in on a regular basis. Some for games, increasingly it’s really an entertainment hub.”
10:23PM:Now Seacrest is talking about the Xbox. “Did you expect to go from ground 0 to a household name a decade ago?” Ballmer says he was bullish and patient and that it represents the best of its NDA and Microsoft is really proud of the gaming console.
10:22PM:That was entertaining.
10:21PM:Kind of wish we were talking about an Xbox 720 or something instead.
10:20PM:Oh it’s a Tweet Choir. We get it.
10:20PM:We’re being told to watch the LSU game I think.
10:19PM:A choir is taking the stage singing gospel-style music.
10:18PM:Ballmer said that, by the time this keynote is over, more than 25,000 users will have adopted Windows 7.
10:18PM:Samsung Series 9. Spectre from HP with the glass lid. A few devices that were unveiled today during CES that should be in consumer’s hands soon.
10:16PM:We’re looking at some new thin and light notebooks that will surely hit the market this year.
10:16PM:Sorry for the multiple entries we’re running into internet problems here with multiple devices.
10:14PM:The live tiles remind us a lot of Windows Phone 7.5 tiles but there’s a cool zoomed-out feature that lets you see all of your tiles in one place.
10:13PM:We saw a quick look at the Windows 8 app store but it’s hard to be impressed after we’ve seen so many new ones proliferate the market.
10:11PM:We saw a quick look at the Windows 8 app store but it’s hard to be impressed after we’ve seen so many new ones proliferate the market.
10:08PM:We’re seeing a demo of the Windows Store and cut the rope. Neat, but it’s hard to be impressed after seeing so many stores lately.
10:06PM:An NVIDIA Tegra 3 chip is powering the demo device.
10:06PM:We’re seeing a demo of how metro UI can be used on larger devices such as touchscreen monitors and laptops or tablets. There’s a lot of swiping, natural touch-based gestures similar to what users do with their Windows Phones. It looks solid.
10:03PM:Chief marketing officer for Windows Tami Reller is discussing the benefits of Windows 7. This is really just a recap of everything Microsoft has done this year, we suppose. Hoping something more exciting comes later in the keynote.
10:01PM:We see a couple of the new ultrabooks rolling through the video.
10:01PM:Ballmer said change is the essence of this industry. Two things are constant. 1: Things change. 2: People don’t want to compromise on what they have today. They want the best of what they have and the best of what they want.
10:01PM:There’s a short clip of the latest Windows 7 powered devices playing.
9:59PM:Windows is the most popular smart device around, Ballmer said.
9:58PM:Ballmer said there are now 1.3 billion Windows-powered machines in use today.
9:57PM:Seacrest is playing with the HTC Titan II also and sounds somewhat excited about it. Now we’re going to discuss Windows PCS.
9:56PM:Ryan Seacrest seems to like the phone.
9:56PM:Ballmer and Seacrest are going over the Lumia 900, which we’ll bring you a hands-on of shortly. Nokia just announced it an hour or so ago so be sure to check out our live coverage of that on the BGR.com homepage.
9:54PM:The Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 will also launch in Canada on Telus and Rogers
9:50PM:Sorry internet trouble real fast there
9:45PM:Derek Snyder the Windows Phone product manager is on stage now. He’s explaining the variety of features available from various Windows Phone vendors. And he’s showing us what Windows Phone software looks like. Not sure why we’re going over all of these features again.
9:44PM:“It all gets put together for you right on the screen.” Basically we’re going over what we already know about Windows Phone as a mobile platform, nothing really new here.
9:43PM:We’re starting with Windows Phone. This is a weird interview format where Seacrest is interviewing Ballmer. “We took a different approach than everyone else and we have a unique experience,” Ballmer said. “If you take a look at it, the other phones all make the sea of icons the sea of applications the view of the world. What we’ve done is Windows Phone is have a better way by taking your people… and we put them right out there in front of you. It puts people first.”
9:41PM:“when you said Metro you looked at me in a strange way” – Ryan Seacrest.
9:41PM:Seacrest is asking what we can expect. “Tonight I have a tremendous show, frankly,” Ballmer said. “We have a chance in the next year to raise our game and product line to the next level across phones, tablets, TVs and the Xbox. The heart and soul of that will be our feature attraction tonight, the metro user interface.
9:40PM:We’re going to talk about and hear what’s next for Microsoft and the tech industry. Seacrest is promising Microsoft’s latest gear so hopefully we hear some new announcements.
9:40PM:He’s thrilled to be here, not sure if the audience feels the same way.
9:39PM:Ryan Seacrest is taking the stage. “Thank you for that one scream over there.” Might have been Corey.
9:37PM:There’s a weirdo techno mashup of Bill Gates making announcements on stage. The Rock has a few appearances. It’s weird.
9:37PM:We hope this isn’t just a history of CEA and Microsoft together..
9:36PM:Ballmer is on stage now and Shapiro is giving him a photo album highlighting Microsoft and CES together. Aww.
9:35PM:“We have nearly doubled in size since the first CES keynote. I offer gratitude and good will to Microsoft.” He’s comparing Microsoft to the founding fathers of this nation. “I would be shocked if a Microsoft leader does not return to this stage again in the next few years. Please join me in welcoming the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer.”
9:34PM:“In 1995 Bill Gates took to the CES stage for the first time to speak to the CES workshop, a small workshop. Bill walked into the Hilton by himself with his head buried in a book. He made some remarks, and then I fielded written questions from the audience. Bill said this revolution would be social. That was in 1995. In 1998 they launched a new concept, the CES keynote. We invited Bill [and others] to become the first CES keynoters. For 14 years Bill and his successor have taken the stage. As you’ve heard, Microsoft is taking a break from the keynote stage is 2013. As a company, Microsoft uniquely changed the world and productivity, more, Microsoft keynotes drew press. Microsoft took a risk on us early and we both benefitted. In the technology world we recognize change is the only constant. For CES and Microsoft to be fresh, innovative and enticing we agreed to a pause.”
9:31PM:President and CEO of the CEA Gary Shapiro is taking the stage. “Welcome to the 2012 CES.”
9:30PM:“This place about to blow” is blaring over the speakers.
9:29PM:And the lights are lowering!
9:27PM:We’re being told to take our seats so this should be kicking off shortly.
9:20PM:The music is still blaring but it looks like the people have slowly stopped flooding into the room.
9:14PM:Should be kicking off in about 20 minutes or so.
9:10PM:General admission is still filing in, we’re just sitting here listening to the music.
8:57PM:We should be getting under way in about 30 minutes or so, enough time for you to order Dominos. Unfortunately we can’t leave our seats to find a water fountain.
8:55PM:Googled it for you, it’s Scotty McCreery: Better than that. Not bad if you’re a country fan.
8:54PM:Alright we’re all seated and ready for Steve Ballmer to take the stage. Hopefully we hear some interesting news, although Microsoft did say earlier that it could just be a recap of the year. There’s country music playing but we’re not sure who it is.