Contrary to earlier reports, I did not drive to CES with Tuan Nguyen, although the thought of 20 questions and I Spy with our News Director makes me wish that I did. I flew to Vegas with Rachel Rosmarin from Tom's Guide. You can tell that CES is near when your entire Southwest flight is full of analysts, executives and journalists plugging away on iPhones and BlackBerries.
Over the last 48 hours, one CES rumor has dominated the Internet above all else: A Microsoft-HP tablet based on the Courier design unveiled earlier this year. If the rumors are to be believed, then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will have one on-stage during the keynote.
What else should we expect? Plenty of positive thinking about the future, praise for Windows 7, Office 2010 and a hopefully some yelling and jumping around by the CEO from Redmond.
I will be here for the duration of the keynote, so make sure you hit F5 as often and as fast as you can for the latest updates!
6:46PM - Power outage and technical difficulties, so the keynote hasn't started quite yet...
7:01PM - CEA President Gary Shapiro introduces Steve Ballmer. Now Seth Meyer from SNL is on the screens, "thanking technology".
7:07PM - Ballmer: "We Bing, we Bing, we Bing, Bing, Bing...at least in my world." Now hes talking about the global middle class growing to 4 billion.
7:09PM - Xbox 360: 39 million 360s sold around the world. 500 million games since original Xbox was launched.
7:10PM - Bing: "We're not just trying to provide users with a list of links." HP partnership: MSN and Bing will be the default home page and search on HP machines in 42 countries.
7:14PM - Showing off the HD2, running on T-Mobile. More on WinMo at WMC in March.
7:16PM - Windows 7 had 8 million beta testers. NPD: Windows sales jumped 50 percent in Windows 7 launch week. "Windows 7 is by far the fastest selling OS in history." Early adopters: 87 percent satisfaction rate. "Windows 7 is a rising tide that helped raise many boats in our business."
7:24PM - Asus NX90 being showed off on-stage. Netbooks and gaming machines being shown off now. Qosmio X505 with DX11 hardware. Now an Asus G51 with the 3D kit from Nvidia.
7:27PM - Just noticed a Steadicam operator...overkill, Microsoft???
7:29PM - Showing off academic software. Up now: Anatomy software collaborating with SkyDrive. Using this through Office 2010.
7:33PM - Bing Maps and Street Dive. Pretty good zoom effects, better than Google Maps.
7:34PM - Windows 7 and TV: Record 4 HD programs at once. CableCARDs galore!
7:38PM - Windows 7 and Windows Media Center walkthroughs.
7:42PM - MediaRoom: Top-rated by J.D. Power. Integration with WinMo, can watch DVR content on your phone.
7:44PM - Slate PCs. HP Slate PC confirmed!!! Running Windows 7 and Kindle software. Also a Slate Pegatron. Below is the HP Slate, running Win7 and the Kindle eReader software.
7:50PM - Rob Bach on stage. Xbox here we come. Showing the Halo: Reach trailer that debuted on Spike. MP bets coming this Spring. GameRoom this Spring: Retro gaming on Xbox Live. Over 30 titles at launch. 1000 titles over the next three years. Also works with Games for Windows Live.
8:09 - Project Natal coming home for the holidays in 2010, confirmed by Bach. "Biggest year in Xbox history."
...and that's all she wrote. What to take away: Slate PCs from Pegatron and HP. Expect more detail on that front later tonight and/or tomorrow.