CES 2007: Everything you need to know about Bill Gates' CES keynote

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Gates.jpgTonight’s star attraction in Vegas isn’t Elton John, Celine Dion or some odd looking feline (un)friendly illusionists. Nope it is the chair and chief software architect of Microsoft himself, Mr Bill Gates wowing the crowds at the CES keynote.

Now over the past few years I have noted a few, how shall I put this?, trends in his pre-CES packages. So working on the premise it will be business as usual I have created a little game. So join me and now and play Bill Gates CES 2007 bingo. You get a point for each thing that happens. Or even better insert your own predictions and play yourself.

Dead certs

1 Standing ovation – Judging by the way in which they whoop and holler those consumer electronics dealers love their Bill. If the ovation lasts more than a minute you’ll know they have a good year selling Xboxes

2 Nice jumpers – Bill always makes an effort with the knit wear. According to this crowd Cashmere is in this year, or maybe he’ll favour a nice bit of Merino.

3 Surprisingly entertaining video – CES is always good for a nice self-deprecating video. You might get to see Bill at home, in his office playing with source code, or even out and about with one of his celeb chums.

4 Celeb guests – Over the years many quality celebs (and Robin Williams) have played Eric to Bill’s Ernie at the CES curtain raiser. My personal favourite was the Rock back in 2001. They traded their, ahem, electrifying catchphrases.

The Rock – smell what The Rock is cooking

Bill – write hardcore C to create slick, tight code.

Quite!

Hard to say who it will be this year. Here’s who it won’t be though

Stephen Colbert – Probably too expensive, even for Bill.
Ricky Gervais – Would be a bit of a geek overload. Potential for catchphrase disaster too – Bill (‘Vista is in no way influenced by OS X‘) Ricky (‘He’s having a laugh‘).
Kate Moss – Doesn’t talk and is off getting married
H from Steps – Otherwise engaged in The Big Brother house.

Topics

1 Windows Mobile – A banker, after all come next week Gatesy might have an iPhone or two to worry about. Besides Windows Mobile is a bit of success story these days, and we all love our MDA Varios.

2 High def gaming – You can guarantee that some celeb will be cajoled into a bout of Ridge Racer 6 on a huge LCD screen. After all Bill has to show off the Xbox 360’s new HDMI output. There will be lots of banging about high def content too. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t a deal announced to distribute Windows Media HD content from some Hollywood studio over the web.

3 Vista – Apparently it is a new operating system… Expect lots of flashy graphics and talk of optimising the user interface. Maybe we’ll get a Windows 98 comparison – with a ‘haven’t we come a long way in ten-ish years’ type speech.

4 Windows Live – Big news for the Microsofterati at the moment as applications like Live Writer, Soapbox and Gadgets have gone down pretty well on the blogosphere. Expect a groovy gadget or two (easy to demo, always get a ‘hey that‘s cool.’) Even Spaces is looking a bit more interesting these days.

Possibles

1 Voice activated software on mobiles – Bill, along with all true geeks, loves this technology. We haven’t had a demo on it for a few years so maybe this will be the year it returns.

2 VoIP – After all we can’t let those Euro whipper snappers Skype (CEO Niklas Zennström recently described Skype’s Californian office as Skype’s regional office for North America, ouch) run the show completely now can we.

3 Green stuff – Everyone needs to stress their green credentials these days. Am I the first person to suggest that the surprise guest star could be Al Gore? Probably not. Then again he might not go down too well with all those carbon-unfriendly dealers.

Listen out for

1 Turkey tech – Bill always manages to demo/plug a complete stinker. In previous years it has been tablet PCs, personal media centers and SPOT smart watches. This time round it is likely to be a UMPC running Vista. Or maybe it will be the Zune? Or maybe that’s a bit harsh?

2 Joke about buying YouTube/Google – Steve Jobs gags are so 2003.

3 Mentions of ‘getting the great content on your PC on to our TV’ – Bet he says this at least three times.

And you can bet he doesn’t mention

The Iraq war
The not so hot forecasts for the US economy
The fourth round draw for the FA Cup

Anyone else got any suggestions?

Check out the rest of our CES coverage.

Ashley Norris