CES: What’s Next for Microsoft?

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Windows Phone 7

Microsoft gave a brief demonstration of its new Windows Phone 7 mobile platform during the keynote as well. There wasn’t much shown that hasn’t been shown before, except for copy and paste functionality, which is coming in an update due out in the coming months. Microsoft also promised that the update would provide faster switching between programs and faster load times for games. Furthermore, Windows Phone 7 handsets will be available on Sprint and Verizon within the first half of the year. (More on Time.com: 50 Windows Phone 7 Apps to Get You Started)

Windows PC

Microsoft has announced that the next version of Windows (not due out until next year) will support full system-on-a-chip (SoC) features along with compatibility with mobile processors based on ARM technology.

System on a Chip architecture will allow Windows PCs to shrink down to a relatively tiny size and work in several form factors. One engineer held up a prototype SoC design about the size of a cracker and said, “This is the processor, the memory, and the motherboard. All you need to do is add a battery and a screen.” (More about Microsoft’s SoC plans here.)

Microsoft Surface

Finally, Microsoft showed off a new version of its “Surface” computer platform. Surface is an all-touch system generally meant for retail and industrial installations like bars, banks, and stores.

Current versions of Surface computers are relatively large and cumbersome since they rely on multiple cameras stored inside the hardware to drive the multi-touch interface. Microsoft’s next version of Surface, however, makes use of a technology the company developed called “PixelSense” which, in essence, turns each pixel of the touchscreen display into a sensor.

As such, cameras are no longer necessary and the Surface machines have been able to shrink down to thicknesses of as little as four inches. The new Surface machines will also be coated in rugged Gorilla Glass, which Microsoft says will be able to withstand a beer bottle being dropped from up to 18 inches. In other words, look for the tables at your local pub to eventually turn into to giant touchscreen computers at some point. (More on Surface here).

More on Time.com:

25 Years Of Windows: The Best & Worst Of Microsoft’s OS

Top Five Uses For Your Kinect Besides Gaming

Two Minute Video: Windows Phone 7 Tips and Tricks

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