Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is set to take to the stage tomorrow for the opening keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Ballmer will detail a number of new announcements related to Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows. The main announcement will be related to Windows running on ARM chips. According to sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans, the software giant is planning to show off a function of Windows 8 for the first time.
Microsoft originally demonstrated Windows multi-touch functionalities at the All Things Digital conference on May 27, 2008. The software maker only teased the touch functionality of Windows 7 and did not reveal the UI or further details until the 2008 Professional Developers Conference in late October, 2008. Microsoft is believed to be planning a similar strategy for Windows 8. Ballmer will show off limited Windows 8 functionality, believed to be related to Microsoft’s Slate plans, and a full Windows 8 unveil will come later at PDC 2011.
TechFlash reports that ARM chip manufacturers Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments have all signed-up to produce processors for Windows 8 systems. Ballmer isn’t likely to refer directly to Windows 8 but will say “the next version of Windows”. WinRumors previously reported that Microsoft would not show off Windows 8. This remains unchanged as Microsoft will not show off the new dual UI of Windows 8.
Microsoft has promised a “major revamp” of Windows for slate applications, that will come in the next version, Windows 8. Microsoft is currently in the planning and preperation stage for Windows 8 and is compiling early milestone builds for product functionality.
Microsoft has been criticized for its slow response to Apple’s iPad device, introduced in April 2010. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, previously said Windows 7 based Slates would be available “as soon as they’re ready” when questioned earlier in 2010. The iPad sold three million units in its first 80 days of release and is currently selling approximately 4.5 million units per quarter, Bernstein Research estimates.
Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates, said earlier in 2010 that the company has a lot of different tablet projects it is pursuing. Microsoft canceled their internal Courier project shortly after the release of the iPad. The project was an innovative new tablet concept that had promised to combine a dual screen book design with finger and stylus input. The leaked promotional materials demonstrated various concepts that would have brought an unparalleled productivity tool to the market. Most media outlets and analysts felt the move to cancel the device was a mistake.