CES 2009 – Microsoft launches Windows 7 beta

It looks like change is in the air at Microsoft - at least if its CES 2009 keynote is anything to go by. Head honcho Steve Ballmer bounded onto the st

It looks like change is in the air at Microsoft - at least if its CES 2009 keynote is anything to go by. Head honcho Steve Ballmer bounded onto the stage and delivered news on the Windows 7 beta, new social networking features for the Xbox 360 and promises of a commitment to cloud computing.

First up, Windows 7. The public beta will go worldwide on Friday 9th January, so you can have your first play over the weekend. Not surprisingly, Microsoft is claiming that it's the 'best Windows ever', with much faster booting than Vista, simple home networking and greater integration with Windows Media Center.

Promisingly, Touch is also apparently in its DNA, with demos showing pinch and zoom in Virtual Earth and a tilt option to dip into 3D graphics. Find out more at our live CES 2009 blog.

Microsoft also talked about the new Windows Live service – it'll have Facebook, IM and Flickr integration, and shows that Microsoft is embracing cloud computing more than ever. Quite frankly, it's about time.

 

The Xbox 360 got some love too, with a demo of a new service called Prime Time. This will bring together elements of TV, gameplay and social networking to allow Xbox Live players to participate in gameshow-style multiplayer challenges.

To see the full details from Microsoft's CES 2009 keynote, check our liveblog of the event over on our live CES blog.

Other news from our live CES 2009 blog:

CES 2009 – Live from the Sony press conference

CES 2009 – Next gen Sony Reader is touchscreen

CES 2009 – Casio Dynamic Photo in action

CES 2009 – Toshiba shows off Cell TV box

Video hands-on with the Sony X-series Walkman