Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer led off his CES keynote tonight with a little bit of gaming and a little bit of mobile, touting impressive momentum for two of the company's larger initiatives of the last year.
On the gaming side, Ballmer proudly revealed that the Kinect motion-capture game controller has sold a massive 8 million units, totally blowing away the 5 million predicted (which itself was an increase from the original 3 million bar set when the device was first announced this fall).
He also introduced a new feature for the Kinect called Avatar Kinect--basically a way to let users to create animated replicas of themselves that can be controlled by their actual motions to interact with others online via Xbox Live. On that note, Ballmer pointed to 30 million Xbox Live accounts now active.
As for mobile, he didn't mention any sales figures for Microsoft's phones (which are now available on 60 operators in 30 countries) but he did reference apps. There are now 5,500 apps available to Windows Phone 7 users, with more being added at a rate of 100 per day.
As for the company's much-anticipated moves into the tablet market, it was a rather understated performance. Microsoft is partnering with UK-based chip maker ARM to ready Window for a new lineup of tablet computers. While this marks the first time Microsoft has partnered with a chip maker other than Intel, don't look for any new tablet devices as a result of this partnership this year.
Instead, the bulk of the tablet news so far has been dominated by Google's Android operating system. Specifically, a new version called Honeycomb, which is behind many of the tablets introduced so far this week, including what may are calling the flagship device of the new class--Motorola's Xoom. More on that in a later post.