This year was Microsoft’s last year at CES. Next year, they will not have the mammoth “booth” they’ve typically held at the main entrance of the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. MS said that there was nothing personal about pulling out – it was just that their product launch cycle didn’t match up with the timing of the show.
This news came as a shock to many convention goers, as well as myself. So, as I walked into the MS booth looking for new tech, I almost expected to find nothing. I just didn’t expect there would be anything new.
Boy, was I wrong.
As I was walking through the huge amount of computers, games, phones and software at the MS booth, I stumbled across a few things that really got me thinking. One of them was the phones. Over the last year, MS came out with their answer to iOS and Android. This new OS, called simply “Windows Phone”, is way different than anything else out there. At its core is Windows power, as you would expect, and at its front is what they are calling “tiles”.
Tiles are kinda cool, and go beyond the screen that you see above. You can scroll left and right through all of them and choose what you want to do with your phone, like update to show you things that you are interested in: email accounts, Facebook updates, calendar info etc. When you touch them, you are launched into the app you need.
Another thing I found at the MS booth was the Windows 8 demo. If you have been reading WS for a while, you have probably read about a few Windows 8 features already. 8 is also a totally different look and feel. MS has replaced the Windows 7 aero interface with what it is calling “Metro” – it’s much more square and large and is tailored to work with both PCs and tablets alike.
Along with the Metro Interface comes a new start menu… and this is where it gets interesting. You see, the new start menu on Windows 8 also uses a set of tiles. These tiles move from side to side and update to show you things you would be interested in on your PC. Like the Windows 8 phone, they update to show you things things like email accounts, Facebook updates and calendar info.
Sound familiar? Look familiar?
It would seem that MS is working on something more than just a phone and PC here – more than just a tablet and a laptop. MS is working on an ecosystem.
Imagine having Windows 8 and using the new tile start menu. After using it for a while and getting used to it, you decide that it’s time for a smartphone. If you had the option to get a phone that looked and worked the same as your Windows PC, would you be interested? I would. If you have the option of getting a tablet that ran Windows 8 instead of something you’ve never used before, would you?
Sounds like MS has a plan.