Microsoft CES Steve Ballmer took the keynote stage at CES last night - his second time since replacing Bill Gates as the face of the company - but ultimately offered very little in the way of new products or services. But a few tidbits emerged that may prove interesting to the music industry.

Ballmer led with the company's biggest strength - the Xbox. The news with the most music industry implications is that the motion-capture camera controller dubbed Project Natal - which debuted at E3 last year - will be released in time for the holidays. No news yet on what kind of games will support the device, but several music-game developers expressed great interest when it was first announced (Air Guitar Hero anyone? Dance Hero? Headbang Hero?).

Ballmer managed to get somewhat ahead of the rash of tablet computer rumors by introducing a tablet-style device being developed in conjunction with Hewlett Packard, called the HP TouchSmart2. It will feature a touchscreen interface, Amazon's Kindle e-reader software, and folds up like a book.

He also briefly displayed additional tablet-like devices from Archos and Pegatron. However all three failed to spark much excitement, and tech pundits are still looking to Apple's Jan. 27 media event for the unveiling of what they expect will be a far more innovative tablet device.