Bill Gates WOWs us with Microsoft Windows Vista at CES Keynote

I just came back from my annual trip to CES to find the best iPod accessories and the latest technology for my company. This year, the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) celebrated his 40th birthday and was kicked off by the Bill Gates keynote on Sunday November 7 in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel. The event was sold out! 5,000 people attended and hundreds more people tried to get in without success. Security was tight! The focus of Bill Gates keynote was a showcase of the newest products from Microsoft including Windows Vista and the new Zune music player; Gates also gave us a glimpse into the future with products such as Ford (F) Sync and a demonstration of technology from the Microsoft futuristic house.

Here are some of the Windows Vista features demonstrated in the keynote. You can now play video files as the background of your desktop in Windows Vista. It was visually stunning! Another new feature was the Windows Photo Gallery where you can easily organize, find, and view pictures. With Windows Vista, you can also easily burn DVDs complete with a main menu and the play option, just like in commercial movies! This is definitely something the many Windows users will love to use! Windows Vista also provides enhanced capabilities to play games and access to XboxLive. Something really cool in Windows Vista is Windows Live with a lot of functionality such as Windows Live Search powered by Microsoft Virtual Earth, somewhat similar to Google (GOOG) 3-D application, Google Earth, which lets you view maps and satellite images for regional searches. The actual demonstration was very real. I felt like I was inside a video game, going down the Las Vegas strip and seeing hotels and traffic. What a trip! Windows Vista includes other impressive features such as Instant Search Box and Windows Sidebar & Gadgets to quickly access functionality, data, and files, Internet Explorer 7, which I have been using since the beta and that I love, Data Backup and Restore so you never lose information, and a lot more.

Windows Vista also features a digital entertainment system, called Windows Media Center (not included in Windows Vista Business Edition)–providing the ability to store and access live and recorded TV, movies, music, and pictures with an easy-to-use menu and remote –in one place. Very nice!

The new Microsoft Office 2007 was very impressive with major improvements in the look and feel and with key functionality at your fingertips to make it much easier for new users to be up and running quickly. Another benefit of Microsoft Office 2007 is that it also runs on Windows XP in case you do not want to upgrade to Windows Vista, just yet!

With Windows Easy Transfer, Microsoft makes it easier to transfer your data, user accounts, settings, photos, videos, and more to your new computer running Windows Vista. Belkin also offers the new Easy Transfer Cable for Windows Vista working in conjunction with Windows Easy Transfer to facilitate the transfer on your new computer.

However, if you upgrade, watch out that the software you run on your current version of Windowsâ are all compatible with Windows Vista. You can check the Microsoft (MSFT) Web site to view a list of the software that work with or are certified for Windows Vista. Otherwise you may have some downtime struggling with software that may not run smoothly on Windows Vista.

To sum it up, Microsoft got really great reviews about Windows Vista, which won the Best of CES Award in the Computers and Hardware category. I must admit: it looks real tempting to upgrade!

All trademarks in this article are the properties of their respective owners.