Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Microsoft previews Windows for tablets

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


LAS VEGAS (CNNMoney) -- Microsoft offered a first look at a new, tablet friendly version of Windows that will support a "system on a chip" -- but the word "tablet" barely came up.

Microsoft demoed the as-yet-unnamed new Windows in a surprise press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday. System on a chip, called SoC, takes the major components of a computer -- like the motherboard and CPU -- and puts them in a thin silicon chip. That chip can fit into small devices like tablets.

Steven Sinofsky, the president of Microsoft's Windows division, stressed throughout the presentation that he was not talking about "form factors or user interfaces." Instead, "this is more of a technical, under-the-covers look at Windows," he said.

Oddly, the tablet talk lasted only a few minutes -- in fact, the word was mentioned only fleetingly. Instead, Sinofsky and a Microsoft press release continually referred to new Windows "supporting a new kind of hardware, SoC architectures, that will power the next generation of devices."

Microsoft has taken significant heat for its lag in the tablet market.

"No one is sleeping at the switch here," CEO Steve Ballmer told analysts at a meeting in July. "We have got to make things happen with Windows 7 on slates. We're in the process of doing that as we speak."

Sinofsky pointed out Wednesday that system hardware requirements had doubled with each new release of Windows until Windows 7 -- which was the first time the requirements dropped slightly.

"That was fine until devices started getting smaller. Even with netbooks, there was a question of whether we'd have to go back to Windows XP," Sinofsky said. "Now we're able to cram so much capability into a single, little chip."

Sinofsky demoed the next-gen Windows running on new SoC platforms from several partners: AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Qualcomm, ARM and Texas Instruments.

The demo showed the new Windows running HD video on an HD screen, with hardware-accelerated HTML5 and graphics.

Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) also announced a 2.0 version of its Surface touchscreen, which is now thinner and uses infrared sensors instead of a camera.

In a question-and-answer session, Sinofsky refused to answer several queries about Windows 7 Mobile and what the next-gen Windows means for cell phones.

"Like I said, today we didn't talk about any form factors," Sinofsky repeated. "I'm not making any calls on that." To top of page

Search for Jobs

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 19,827.25 94.85 0.48%
Nasdaq 5,555.33 15.25 0.28%
S&P 500 2,271.31 7.62 0.34%
Treasuries 2.47 0.01 0.33%
Data as of 11:31am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 22.64 0.11 0.49%
General Electric Co 30.53 -0.68 -2.18%
Bristol-Myers Squibb... 49.23 -6.26 -11.28%
CSX Corp 44.33 -1.18 -2.59%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 6.69 0.07 1.06%
Data as of Jan 20
Sponsors

Sections

Shares of several uranium miners are soaring this year on hopes that Donald Trump will commit more investments to nuclear power. But investors need to get careful. The stocks are as volatile as radioactive elements. More

President Trump promised to 'buy American and hire American.' He says his policies will create 25 million new jobs, the most of any U.S. president in history. CNNMoney lays out just how hard that will be. More

Senators Chuck Grassley and Dick Durbin plan to reintroduce their bill for revamping the popular H-1B visa program. More

If you're smart about when you first claim Social Security, you can increase your benefits and reap the rewards for the rest of your life. More