Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage Monday night to deliver the company's last Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote. He touted a few Microsoft milestones and future projects, such as Windows 8 and Windows Mobile operating system, in an interview with Ryan Seacrest of 'American Idol' and Los Angeles D.J. fame. But the real news came when talking about the future developments for Kinect, which first launched as a motion controller for the Xbox 360.
Kinect emerged as the hot topic for the night. While it allows users to interact with content on the Xbox 360, companies like Boeing, Mattel, Siemens, and Toyota are among those creating Kinect software for Windows. Ballmer said Kinect becomes available for Windows in February.
Microsoft is also working with companies to create interactive experiences. A project with "Sesame Street" puts the player in the video episode of Elmo's World using the camera in the Kinect device. The two-way interactive television app rolls out later this year.
The Kinect-powered app also allows kids to play with the characters on the screen. A video clip shows Grover needing help to fill a box with coconuts, allowing the player to motion as if she is tossing a coconut into the box.
Kinect made a profound impact on products this year, influencing a variety of products. Samsung Electronics incorporated gesture response and facial recognition technology into TV for Web browsing and viewing, for example. In an earlier interview on Monday, IPG Media Lab Managing Partner Chad Stoller said he believes "the TV will determine if the viewer is a man or a woman or a child."
If a child is viewing the content, parental controls will kick in, Stoller said. The possibilities for targeted advertising based on recognizing the gender and the age of a person viewing the content will open new options for brands.
As for Windows, more than 1.3 billion PCs support the operating system worldwide today, Ballmer said, talking up Windows Mobile and the next version of the operating system, Windows 8. Nokia had unveiled Lumia 900 for AT&T earlier in the day. It follows Lumia 710, supported by T-Mobile and Lumia 800, which Nokia released overseas, but Ballmer said it would soon hit Microsoft stores in the U.S.