Gates headlines CES with new consumer plans

In his keynote address at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2000, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates ushered in a new era of PC/consumer electronics synchronicity where gadgets are linked wirelessly, constantly online, and personalized for individual users. And the central piece of hardware in this grand new plan, unsurprisingly, is the newly coined "Pocket PC," a Windows CE-based device that will apparently replace all of the company's other CE devices when it ships later this year. It's a confusing time for fans of Windows CE, however, as the CE name will be dropped for "Pocket PC."

"The year 2000 ushers in the 'consumer electronics-plus' era, a defining moment in computing when software will enable new services and new tools for consumers, simply and easily," Gates said, lending comparisons to his Fall Comdex speech, when he spoke of the "post-PC" era. Gates also reused comedic videos from his Comdex speech.

Gates said that people would be able to access their favorite music, books, videos, and photographs from anywhere in the world--homes, cars, malls, or even outdoors--using a wide range of devices. And these devices will also offer various forms of communication, such as voice, video and email, effectively killing off today's cellular phone market.

"We're going to have connections where you can get information and entertainment that you care about on all these different devices," Gates said. "In your pocket you'll have a screen phone or a handheld game or a personal information manager... Convergence is not having a single device you use for everything. You'll have a plethora of devices. The home itself will almost be like a computer system."

To facilitate the move to this nerdvana of the future, Gates made a standard assortment of product announcements, including new features for MSN Mobile Services and MSN Web Companion, a ClearType-based eBook application for the Pocket PC devices called Microsoft Reader, Windows Media Player for the Pocket PC, the futuristic Microsoft Concept Home, and a new version of Windows CE for the automobile called AutoPC.

Gates also discussed the MovieMaker software that will be included in Windows 98 Millennium Edition, the version of Windows 98 that will ship in mid-2000. MovieMaker allows users to edit and modify home videos

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