CES: Bill Gates ushers in new era of consumer electronics

Live from Las Vegas: Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates opened the 2001 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas Saturday with a keynote address that revealed his company's consumer-oriented plans for 2001. Gates showed off the Xbox gaming console, the Ultimate TV service, a new wireless computing platform for automobiles called Car.NET, new Windows CE-based devices, and a variety of personal audio players that support Windows Media formats. Dubbing the company's presence at the show as "Microsoft brings it home," Gates asserted that software would be the glue that brought PCs and consumer electronics together. And with the software advances at work within Microsoft, he said, daily life can be advanced digitally.

"For the first time, the broad availability of Internet-based services, a new generation of smart, connected devices and home networking solutions are enabling consumer technology companies to improve the way people live," Gates said. "The last 25 years of software development will provide the platform for the next 25 years of consumer technologies."

Gates unveiled the Xbox gaming console, a move that had been widely anticipated since last month. Gates also showed off the new hand controllers and three games, "Malice," "Munch's Oddysee," and a wrestling title featuring WWF-star "The Rock," who joined Gates on stage. Gates also showed off a new "slim and sexy" PC running a beta version of Whistler, the next version of Windows. Gates said that Whistler will make it far easier to work with digital cameras, scanners, and video recorders. In addition to the news from the keynote, Microsoft is showing off a prototype connected home at the show, featuring a variety of home networking equipment and over 40 connected devices and services

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