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MSFT to Demo Win 8, Set-top Box, More at CES

A few weeks back, there were some rumors about the subject of Steve Ballmer’s CES keynote. In mid-December, the New York Times cited sources in reporting that tomorrow’s Ballmernote will feature a lot of tablet-talk (kind of like last year, huh Steve?) and a little preview of Windows 8.

NYT had little in the way of details in regards to the Windows 8 preview. However, a fresh bout of reports paint a very interesting picture indeed. TechFlash reports that part of tomorrow’s Windows 8 preview will be as much about Windows 8 as it will be a confirmation of Redmond’s interest in ARM-based devices.

“Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans confirm that the company tomorrow will show Windows running on the ARM architecture common in mobile devices and slate-style computers -- a landmark move intended to make the traditional PC operating system work on a broader array of machines,” writes Todd Bishop, adding, “Windows 8, it turns out, is the version that will introduce that capability. And Microsoft has lined up chip makers Nvidia, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments to make ARM processors for Windows 8 systems.”

Of course, as exciting as the apparition of the next version of Windows is, it’s not expected to be the main focus of Microsoft’s CES presence as the company is supposed to show off several Window-based tablets. Tablets will be this year’s ‘big thing’ as far as CES is concerned but will be especially important for Microsoft to have something special; last year the company announced the HP Slate. A release date for the Slate was never quite nailed down and it took months to hit shelves. When it was finally released, it was done so as an enterprise-only device.

Also rumored for tomorrow is a Microsoft-brand set-top box to rival Apple and Google’s respective forays into the living room, as well as Xbox and Windows Phone announcements.

Ballmer’s keynote is kicking off at 6:30pm tomorrow evening, so we don’t have long to wait! Stay tuned!