CNET UK’s Crave blog sums up Bill Gate’s keynote at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show quite nicely:
The Gates soft-shoe shuffle at CES kicks off the gadget show each year with the same forlorn regularity as a Windows blue screen of death. It’s comforting to watch Bill climb up to the stage, but prepare yourselves, people: this can’t go on for ever. Gates began his remarks by saying that next year’s keynote may well be his last.
This year’s keynote didn’t hold many too many surprises. There was the usual self-satisfied purring about what a long way we’ve all come, baby, in what Gates is now calling “the digital decade”. There was also some quite staggeringly unhip video showing what were supposed to be hip and cool consumers using Microsoft products to have connected experiences.
I always get a laugh out of the “digital future” concept demos they put poor Mr Gates through. This year even he was laughing at the schtick where he, the world’s richest man, was reading interactive ads at a bus stop and checking out recipes projected on a kitchen counter after setting a forlorn bag of RFID tagged flour on it.
Also, someone please get Robbie Bach a public speaking coach – he seemed like a deer in the headlights. Of course, it is a trifle embarrassing to warmly endorse parental controls for gaming on Vista and then run a montage of games that mostly involved shooting other people.
The main event was news of a new home server as well as some cutesy Media Center PCs in quirky form factors (round and white anyone?). There was also the intriguing news that Microsoft will allow its Xbox 360 games console to act as a link to its Internet Television service, or IPTV.
And that’s about it in a nutshell. Some more details from the general press release and elsewhere:
Update: Paul Thurrott has more details on the Windows Home Server including that it is based on Windows Server 2003 R2 and that the operating system can be purchased without hardware.
Clarification: Ken Fisher at Ars Technica:
One challenge facing Windows Home Server (WHS for short) is that it is an OEM-only product, meaning that you won’t be able to head out and buy WHS at your local retail joint. And much like Media Center in the early days, we don’t expect specialty shops to carry an OEM version of the software anytime soon. This is disappointing news, because the early-adopter segment isn’t particularly interested in paying top dollar for OEM creations when do-it-yourself delivers a better experience. That said, I discussed this briefly with a Microsoft representative who said that Microsoft is aware that there’s a big enthusiast crowd out there, and a retail release of the OS isn’t out of the question.