Live from Microsoft's CES 2012 keynote with Steve Ballmer!

Are you ready for the end of an era? Microsoft has said this will be its last keynote at CES and you know what that means: Steve Ballmer will be pulling out all the stops to really knock our socks off. Or maybe not. Still, it's sure to feature plenty of Windows 8 love and maybe, if we ask real nice, Steve will give us one last battlecry of "developers!" Join us for a heartwarming liveblog you won't want to miss.

10:45PM Thanks for joining us, everyone. We had a blast and we hope you did too. We'll be live from the studio at midnight ET, 9pm west coast, so don't leave that browser!

10:44PM Just overheard: "Thank God it was the last year."

10:44PM And we're done! Polite applause as the lights come up.

10:44PM Steve won't say it, but we will: Developers Developers Developers!

10:43PM "Metro, Metro, Metro! and Windows, Windows Windows!"

10:43PM "Metro will drive the new magic across all of our user experiences. Metro means that 1+1 really does equal 3."

10:43PM "Together, all of us in this industry, in thousands of new ways, even new ways that we haven't imagined yet, will use the software and services and devices to invent incredible things."

10:42PM "You saw Metro on a phone and you saw Metro in Windows and you saw Metro on Xbox. It's everywhere."

10:42PM Steve: "Windows 8 is what's next! The next milestone is in late February and then, boom! it's off to shipment."

10:42PM Ryan: "I think we're almost out of time, so one final question, on your final keynote event this evening: What's next?"

10:41PM Bing is now 30 percent market share in combination with Yahoo!

10:41PM Talking about Office 365, and now the Skype acquisition. 300 billion minutes of voice and video in the last year!

10:40PM He's talking about other flavors of Windows, including Sync on Ford vehicles.

10:39PM Steve: "Tonight I'm thrilled to announce that Kinect is coming to Windows on February 1st, in just a couple of weeks."

10:39PM We're getting a montage here of some of the best Kinect hacks. And, of course if you know Engadget you know we love Kinect hacks.

10:38PM He thinks Kinect will revolutionize other industries, including education and even healthcare.

10:38PM Steve: "It's going to be amazing... The ability of the computer to see you, to hear you, to recognize you, it sparked a revolution."

10:38PM Okay, we're back to Ryan and Steve again. Ryan: "It's so cool to not only be watching, but to be a part of it."

10:37PM Sadly, that's probably where it's going to stay.

10:37PM It's Kinect Sesame Street TV, coming later this year "and only on Kinect."

10:37PM Okay, this is kind of cool. It's using the Kinect to put them in the image, with Elmo dancing around and a Tiger running around on the screen.

10:36PM (That was a joke.)

10:36PM Which of course is a logical step for the Xbox, since Space Ace is one of the most popular games of all time.

10:36PM This is, we're sorry to say, very reminiscent of early CD-ROM titles.

10:35PM She threw one, which went wonderfully, but when she didn't throw Grover got bored. But, thankfully Cookie Monster came in to help out. What a nice guy.

10:35PM By standing up and waving her hand she was able to toss a coconut Grover's way.

10:34PM Grover's rolling around on a skateboard, and he spilled his coconuts. Naturally.

10:33PM Cookie Monster is up on the TV, getting excited about some baklava.

10:33PM "You can physically and vocally impact a TV show."

10:33PM Two new helpers are on stage, Ainslee and a friend.

10:33PM Time for a demo of Sesame Street TV, a peek at "something that is not a game."

10:32PM He's teasing about a "two-way experience" in which you engage with the TV.

10:32PM "Do tell, do tell," we respond.

10:32PM "What comes next?" He's asking.

10:31PM "With lightning fast voice control with Kinect, a world of entertainment content and the ease of discovery using Bing, Xbox is your all-in-one entertainment device for the living room."

10:31PM He's also throwing out to AT&T U-Verse, Telus and Telefonica.

10:31PM Craig is announcing a partnership with News Corporation, bringing Fox, WJS, Fox News and IGN to the Xbox.

10:30PM We're now looking at the Verizon FiOS app -- very briefly. Showed a selection of content and then away it goes.

10:30PM That's it for the Lumia, it's disappeared again.

10:30PM A few people in the audience quipping he should leave it on the game. Probably not going to happen.

10:29PM Spoiler Alert, Alabama is winning!

10:29PM He's controlling his Xbox from his phone, and changing over to the BCS National Championship Game just by tapping.

10:29PM Craig just found a Lumia 900 in the sofa cushions, maybe it's time for something new?

10:28PM A few (very artificially intoned) verbal commands and the movie is playing.

10:28PM We're searching for Star Trek and it finds the movie, we're searching for an actor and it brings up their names. We're playing Transformers Dark of the Moon and watching that on Zune.

10:27PM Ryan and Steve are watching intently, silhouetted in green.

10:27PM There's certainly one sitting in this particular editor's living room.

10:27PM It just got really, really silent in here again. Craig's staying upbeat but it's obvious people aren't too excited about seeing something demoed that's probably sitting in many of their living rooms.

10:26PM We're looking at the new Xbox experience -- which of course isn't very new.

10:26PM "Let me show you the magic of voice with Kinect."

10:25PM Craig Davidson is on the stage, Senior Director of Xbox.

10:25PM Unless "it" is on the Interwebs, of course.

10:25PM "We've shipped over 18 million Kinect Sensors in a little over a year. Kinect, as we begin to integrate Bing into the Xbox experience, it will really transform the TV experience. You just say it and the Xbox goes and finds it."

10:24PM "[It's] really an entertainment hub... morphing, changing. Did I expect it 10 years ago? Yes, I bet on it 10 years ago."

10:23PM Steve: "We're the sales user in consoles, we have 66 million Xbox users and over 40 million Xbox Live subscribers tuning in for a variety of different experiences."

10:23PM Okay, back to business.

10:22PM Is that an America's Got Talent joke?

10:22PM Hah, Ryan's asking if we'd like to vote for the Tweet Choir.

10:22PM Yes, they capitalized Interwebs.

10:21PM "That's what the Interwebs are sayin' about Microsoft at CES."

10:21PM "Watching CES! Hoping for Xbox news."

10:21PM Ryan's really getting into it.

10:20PM "Somebody call Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. Nokia Lumia is Coming to America and it's fit for a prince."

10:20PM Okay, we've been won over. This is awesome.

10:20PM "OMG this autotuned Bill Gates thing is hilarious."

10:20PM We're singing through some tweets. "Ryan Seacrest is host of the Microsoft Keynote. This man has done everything."

10:19PM Again and again. Oh, here we go, some singing.

10:19PM "Tweet Choir's at CES."

10:19PM "Tweet Choir's at CES."

10:19PM We're going to take a look at something called "The Tweet Choir." Some forced applause here as a choir comes out, chanting "Tweet Choir's at CES."

10:18PM And, all of them will be able to be upgraded to Windows 8 without issue.

10:18PM Steve Ballmer says that, at the rate of current activations, there will be 25,000 new Windows 7 users out there by the time this keynote is over.

10:17PM She also made an off-the-cuff reference to an upcoming Dell Ultrabook, but nothing beyond that.

10:17PM She has a lot of devices up there. This is like a greatest hits collection of all the Ultraportables we've seen unveiled today.

10:16PM The Samsung Series 9 is up here too. It's "stunning."

10:16PM Here's the Specre from HP! Glass lid is in effect.

10:16PM Oh, seemed like she was winding down. Not so much, we're looking at some new Ultraportables.

10:15PM "We hope you'll download it and check it out."

10:15PM All you can hear are the odd clacks of shutters, but even those are growing less frequent.

10:15PM Indeed it's deathly silent in this room.

10:15PM We're watching an HTML5 video, hardware accelerated. It was a tiny window... can't say that was a particularly impressive demo.

10:15PM Mind, it could be worse. We could be having Windows ME flashbacks...

10:14PM We're in the browser now. It's full-screen. To see tabs you swipe down and you get all the different images. We're having serious webOS and QNX flashbacks here.

10:13PM She was able to easily overlay the recipe app with Word to see them both at the same time. You know, windows.

10:13PM "I can't cook but I can compile" says Tami as she creates a list of favorite recipes. I think all the developers hearts here are melting.

10:12PM But, she didn't need to leave the app. It definitely looks like sharing on Android, if you're suitably familiar.

10:12PM She's swiping in from the right, bringing up Charms and she just picked a share button. She's sending a message to Jerome, her husband and, hey presto, it went out.

10:11PM Stop it Tami, we haven't had dinner yet, and that looks delicious.

10:11PM She's looking at a recipe... Mac and Cheese.

10:11PM Now it's time to see how apps can work together to create "powerful experiences." We're guessing this will be like hopping to OpenTable as we saw before.

10:10PM She's using a keyboard now, showing a quick search by just typing.

10:10PM It's a little like the Expose view, or the pinching you can do on many TouchWiz Android devices to get a bird's eye view of all your homescreens.

10:09PM She's showing off Semantic Zoom now, hopping out to see all the tiles of thumbnails.

10:08PM The Store opens in late February, available in every language that Windows offers. That's over 100! There are free and paid apps in 200 markets!

10:08PM She's switching between apps with gestures as well, going from one to the other with a finger flick, and hopping back into the Windows Store.

10:08PM She's launched the app from the Metro UI, going into the second level... wait for it... yes! We have a sated little cute green dude.

10:07PM It's priced at $1.49, by the way.

10:07PM She's navigated over to Cut The Rope, which will let her navigate candies to adorably cute little gremlins.

10:07PM "We want to do the best job of connecting people to as many great apps as possible, and as you can see it's very easy to navigate through the store."

10:06PM Okay, time to show us something new. She's hopping into the Windows Store. "Apps are what power the new exprience in Windows 8, and it all starts here in the Store."

10:06PM She's showing a Samsung tablet running on x86. It's a bit of a big thing, but then we're a bit jaded after a day of super-slinky device unveils.

10:05PM "Of course Windows 8 runs brilliantly on x86, both AMD and Intel."

10:05PM Her current device, she said, is running an NVIDIA Tegra 3 chipset. Qualcomm and TI are on-board as well.

10:04PM Similarly she's swiping from the top and bottom to bring up some hidden menus for a painting app.

10:04PM By swiping in from the right side she revealed charms, a pop-up menu that gives quick access to settings. Bezel gestures are something we are definitely fond of on the TouchPad and PlayBook and other similarly camel-cased devices.

10:03PM So far we've only seen touch, but she's saying it works just as well with a keyboard and mouse -- and that it'll work well regardless of how many screens you have.

10:03PM We're swiping through tiles, which act as a "window into your apps." Just like Windows Phone, naturally.

10:03PM She's using the Picture Password login screen, where you touch designated areas on a picture to log in. Far, far more fun than a passcode or the like.

10:02PM We're getting a demo now from Tami, on a tablet that's hidden behind a short white partition unfortunately.

10:02PM She's saying you can effortlessly move between what you want to do, and what you need to do. Naturally tablets right now are really only properly good at the first bit.

10:01PM "Windows 8 is designed to deliver a no compromise experience. It brings together the potential of a tablet and the power of a PC."

10:01PM "Windows 8 is more than the next version of Windows. It's a new way of thinking about your PC."

10:01PM Yay!

10:00PM "I'm really excited to talk about Windows!"

10:00PM Tami Reller, CMO for Windows is out on the far right of the stae.

10:00PM More devices, the Samsung Series 9, Lenovo U300, even the new HP Spectre. We're being asked "Which PC are you?"

9:59PM Basically, what we're seeing is a highlight reel of the past few months of our Review Editor Dana Wollman's life.

9:59PM We're looking at Ultrabooks like the Aspire S3, the UX31, Portege Z380, Dell XPS 14z.

9:58PM Okay, it's time for a video clip showing some of the best currently available Windows 7 devices.

9:58PM But first we're going to talk about the "stunning" selection of form factors currently available with Windows 7 -- can't kill the current golden goose before the new one hatches.

9:58PM With Windows 8 they've "re-imagined" the experience and Ryan is excited about a "really cool" Windows 8 demo that's coming up.

9:57PM He's talking about how notebooks didn't become popular until people were able to get a full, desktop experience.

9:57PM Steve says two things are constant. "Number 1: things change. Number 2: people don't want to compromise on what they have."

9:56PM Steve is talking about how the Windows PC has been constantly changed and re-invented since it was introduced. 1.3 billion Windows machines are in use now!

9:56PM Amen to that.

9:56PM Steve: "There's nothing better than good competition! Nothin!"

9:56PM Okay, smooth segway over to Windows PCs now. Ryan: "You guys have some good competition."

9:55PM Ryan: "There's so much going on in the mobile market right now. It'll be an interesting year." Indeed it will!

9:55PM That is, after all, a lot of megapixels.

9:55PM You should know the details now, with the 4.7-inch OLED display and a 16 megapixel camera. Ryan looks mildly impressed.

9:55PM We're also getting a peek at the HTC Titan II, which Ryan pulled out of his pocket.

9:54PM Coincidence? You decide.

9:54PM And speak of the devil, there it is. "It's really an incredible phone" says Steve. It's "Blazing fast" on AT&T's LTE network says Steve, which happens to be AT&T's catchphrase.

9:53PM The 710 is coming to T-Mobile very soon, while the 800 is coming unlocked in a few months. No partners there, eh? Can't say we blame them with the 900 on the way.

9:53PM "No we're yearning to go bigger here in North America, and I'm pleased to announce the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 will be coming to Canada in Rogers and Telus."

9:52PM Steve: "The range and diversity of device is amazing, and the quality of work is special."

9:52PM Ryan says Sushi Roku is a good spot. That's good enough for us.

9:52PM Okay, Derek's done showing us the wonders of Mango. Back to Ryan and Steve.

9:52PM He's tied straight into the OpenTable app to make a reservation. Pretty cool. Also, something we've seen long before.

9:51PM 4.2 out of 5. Sounds decent. Anybody hungry?

9:51PM We're popping into a Sushi restaurant, Sushi Roku. Any good?

9:51PM Showing all the local restaurants, some bookmarked, some highlights.

9:50PM Phew, okay. On a new phone showing Bing Local Scout.

9:50PM We're switching phones, hang on.

9:50PM Derek is showing apps on Live Tiles, including group tiles for discounts and the Delta app for boarding passes. All hugely useful if you've used 'em.

9:49PM A little quip from Derek about things "working perfectly." Lots of knowing laughs... lots of devs in the room who have been there before, this guy included.

9:49PM Sure enough, it failed. He said "Sounds right" but it just got "Sound."

9:48PM Derek's doing voice recognition, which is always a dangerous thing in a live event!

9:48PM It's social, it's integrated, and it's beautiful. It's also stuff we've all seen before.

9:48PM ...visual voicemails, IMs...

9:47PM We're seeing some messaging with Joe Belfiore, emails and texts, Joe's tweets, and so forth.

9:47PM "Unlike our competitors that have proprietary services, like iMessage or BBM, we use the services you're already using." That's texting, emailing, twittering. You know, the usual subjects.

9:47PM He's showing off some Mango features, like groups, for example.

9:46PM He's showing the social integration, how tiles light up when people perform actions -- calling, texting, etc.

9:46PM Anyhow, back to Derek...

9:46PM Phoning it in?

9:46PM Ryan, meanwhile, appears bored. He's reading the script.

9:46PM Now we're looking at Derek's phone, which is tethered. Derek's reminding us that Windows Phone is not a "sea of icons." Neither is it a big truck.

9:45PM Derek's showing off all the phones that have launched over the past few months to show the variety of all the devices -- all of the WVGA devices.

9:45PM We're welcoming Derek Snyder up on stage. Derek is SVP of marketing and is going to give us a demo.

9:44PM Ryan: "Can we see the phone in action?"

9:44PM Ryan's going to Steve's address book, calling out highlights. Kardashians? Perhaps...

9:44PM Steve: "What happens is things change. People tweet, they post, they text. It all gets put together for you right there on the screen. What isn't important is writing the email or writing the text, it's what's going on with people."

9:43PM He's pulled out his own phone, showing a missed call from Bill Gates! No big deal.

9:43PM Steve is talking about how Windows Phone puts "people first," the first that does so according to him.

9:42PM That, by the way, is a great Ballmer pic.

9:42PM Steve: "I'm really excited and up-beat about where we are. We definitely took a different approach..."

9:42PM Ryan: "Let's start with Windows Phone." Huge applause for that! "The design team over here... probably."

9:42PM Ryan with a zinger about looking metro!

9:41PM Very modest, that guy.

9:41PM The "heart and soul" will be the company's Metro UI, helping to tie everything together. Steve things people will be "kind of impressed."

9:41PM Steve: "We have a chance in the next year to really raise our game across our product lines."

9:40PM Steve and Ryan just parked themselves at a little table on some high chairs.

9:40PM That includes a suite of smartphones that have been rolled out, including the Lumia 900.

9:40PM "There'll be Steve, me, and a lot of Microsoft's latest gear."

9:39PM "When the highly enthusiastic Steve Ballmer asked me to be a part of their final CES keynote I obviously didn't hesitate."

9:39PM He's looking dashing, a little more casual than his recent New Years appearance.

9:39PM "Thank you for that one scream over there." Yes, there is at least one woman in the room who likes Ryan.

9:38PM "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host: Ryan Seacrest!"

9:38PM Man this Bill Gates remix is kind of great. I think we have a new groove for our trailer dance party tonight.

9:37PM Conan O'Brien highlights, The Rock are among the former celebrity guests who are making taped appearances presently.

9:37PM Bill gates is being autotuned, rapping about devices. It's a fresh beat. We can dig it.

9:37PM We're looking at a remix of 15 years of Microsoft here, all the way back to Windows 95!

9:36PM "Let's get it on!" says us.

9:36PM "We'll see you back" says Gary. "Thanks for a great partnership" says Steve.

9:36PM Gary's presenting a little collage of goodies over the past keynotes.

9:36PM Fresh off of appearances from AT&T and Nokia, of course. He's looking fresh and relaxed.

9:35PM Until then, it's time for Steve Ballmer!

9:35PM Here's to hoping!

9:35PM "America has been blessed by both a vision of our founders and by being a home of Microsoft, and I would be shocked if a Microsoft leader does not return to this stage in a few years."

9:35PM He's really making this out to be a group decision. We're just a bit cynical, but we'll be speaking directly with Gary later this week so maybe we can get a little more detail. More on that later...

9:34PM "We recognize that change is the only constant, and for both CES and for Microsoft to be both fresh, innovative and enticing, we agreed to a pause."

9:34PM "Microsoft took a risk on us early, and we both benefited."

9:34PM He's saying Microsoft is "taking a break" in 2013. "As a company, Microsoft uniquely changed the world and productivity... Microsoft keynotes drove press and international attendance to this show."

9:33PM Back to Gary...

9:33PM There's a snap of the four tablets or laptops on the right of the stage. Mystery devices? Yes, please.

9:33PM Bill said the revolution would be "social." That was, of course, 16 years go!

9:32PM Gary's reminiscing here a little bit... "Bill walked into the Hilton by himself with his head buried in a book... His speech was called 'The coming revolution of computing.'"

9:32PM "We all learned about the convergence of the TV, PC and content here at CES. In 1995 Bill Gates took to the stage for the first time to talk to a small group of attendees."

9:32PM Now, we know, it's a happy partnership.

9:31PM He's throwing back to the early '90s, when the question was whether the PC or the TV would own the entertainment in the home.

9:31PM "Welcome to the 2012 International CES!"

9:31PM Gary Shapiro is up on stage! He's President and CEO of the CEA.

9:31PM Watching a little montage from CES 2011 with some intense musical accompaniment. Ke$ha? Why not?

9:29PM In the middle -- action! Lights are down here we go!

9:29PM On the right, looks like some tablets. Maybe.

9:29PM Up on stage we have an HDTV setup with an Xbox 360 on the left, so look forward to some gaming demos.

9:29PM I'm Tim Stevens, your humble textual host.

9:28PM Today we have the esteemed Mr. Darren Murph on photos. He's swinging a Nikon D3S around with a 70 - 200 screwed on the front.

9:27PM We're being asked to take our seats and silence our phones. We're on vibrate, how about you?

9:26PM We're listening to a selection of semi-inspirational music. Anonymous pop rock and the like.

9:26PM We've actually been here for nearly an hour. Good seats, and that.

9:25PM We're in our seats!