Bill Gates demonstrates new Windows… and Xbox HD-DVD

Bill Gates used his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show to wax lyrical about Windows Vista. The new operating system – due at the end of 2

Bill Gates used his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show to wax lyrical about Windows Vista. The new operating system – due at the end of 2006 – will feature improved user interface, plus a new photo-editing application and an improved Windows Media Player.

Many of the improvements are reminiscent of Apple’s Mac OS X – from use of large icons and translucency to the iPhoto-like Photo Gallery application. The new Sidebar (shown above) feature allows RSS newsreaders, world time and other widgets to be instantly accessible.

Gates also demonstrated how the new Vista-flavoured version of Media Center will provide a simpler living room experience.

His coolest demo, though, was when he showed a mobile phone that automatically connected to a monitor to deliver a full desktop PC experience.

Gates also used his keynote to announce the announce Urge, a new music download service provided with MTV, which will be available through Windows Media Player 11 – part of the Vista system.

Finally, the Microsoft boss confounded rumour-mongers by announcing the Xbox 360 would support the HD-DVD high-definition video format after all – but 360 owners will have to buy a separate HD-DVD drive. Sony’s forthcoming PS3, of course, will have a high-definition Blu-Ray drive supplied as standard.

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