Live from the NYC Windows 7 press event

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The world pretty much knows what Windows 7 contains, thanks to technology previews and early releases to developers. So what's left for anyone to be surprised about? Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gave a hint as to a possible answer this morning on NBC's Today program, telling host Matt Lauer that one of the most noticeable new features of the operating system will be multitouch. With Apple premiering its "multitouch mouse" a few days early, did Ballmer have something similar in mind?

Betanews' Jacqueline Emigh is with the press contingent in New York City, and is filing live updates from the scene.

Refresh this page for updates.

8:51am PT: Ballmer: "The notion of speed, simplicity, and form factor...and peripherals, we haven't even really gotten to the peripherals."

Encourages folks to check out the offers that PC makers are offering. "I think today is an important day for the computer industry, certainly for Microsoft, and I hope for customers around the world." Ends on time.

8:50am PT: Acer Aspire Rivo is a whole PC for TVs, priced at around $200, can be hidden behind the TV. Runs Intel Atom dual-core.

ATI DirectX 11 graphics card, rendered live on GPU, CPU is at 10% idle. "Order-independent transparency -- every single layer is being rendered where you see the background all the way through." ATI demo using semi-translucent robot with independent camera. $400 PC rendering the robot using DirectX 11.

HP laptop with dual hard drives (!), HDTV screen, subwoofer sound. No mention of price, but it's certainly nice.

Dell Adamo XPS. "This will be the thinnest computer in the world when it's shipping: 9.99 mm thin." Comes up from sleep in 1-2 seconds."

8:45am PT: 60 GHz wireless docking technology, demonstrates active windows sliding between two active displays, windows remain active when systems are undocked.

8:43am PT: Demo of new PCs running Windows 7, including an Acer PC that boots up in 15 seconds. (No specs on which CPU.)

HP Envy, resumes from sleep in one or two seconds.

8:37am PT: Netbook, invented over the last 12 months or so, "those are Windows PCs." (Will come as news to Intel.)

8:36am PT: Ballmer returns: "_The_ key for the popularity of Windows -- and Windows is very popular... -- is the fact that there's simply more you can do with these systems. It's the diversity. It's all of the peripherals, the Onkyo, the this, the that, the all the things you see that Brad showed you...For some, it'll be the new Hulu application; for others, it will be Microsoft Office."

8:34am PT: Simultaneous streaming to seven other devices along with the first three, with one Win7 PC as the controller. I'm noticing some halting in the streaming, 54% machine utilization. Firing up a stream locally.

"You know what, I think I'm done here."

8:33am PT: "Play to," which Brooks calls the "Seventh Wonder of Windows 7." Western Digital TV-box, sells for less than $120, makes an HDTV into "a great Windows 7 experience." New class of CE devices enables TV digital amplifiers to be Win7-enabled.

Digital picture frame enables media to be streamed, pushed from a single device to three other Windows TV components throughout the home (including the picture frame), simultaneously.

"But you know what, it doesn't stop there." (SF3: For some reason, I feel like I should be in pajamas drinking tea.)

8:27am PT: Can take a business laptop home, and make it a member of the homegroup network. Shares media while at home, but shares domain at work with no additional setup. Location-aware printing and sharing.

8:26am PT: Homegroup networking demonstrated now. What do you want to share? Pictures, documents, printers? Entered the homegroup password, sharing is complete. Betanews can vouch for this -- "These PCs are working together, that simple with Windows 7."

8:25am PT: [SF3:] The infomercial feel of this presentation may be detrimental here; consumers see through this "It's just that easy" and "It makes your life a breeze" marketing lingo.

8:23am PT: Finds "Caddyshack" in Netflix, can pick up in the middle of a movie where one left off. "All right, thank you, Bill Murray."

"It's just a great touch platform in general with Windows 7." New touch application for Windows 7 PCs with touch capability: Kindle Reader from Amazon, content libraries from Kindle, touch-enabled app with full-color pictures. Resizable, fonts reset themselves live.

8:21am PT: CBS Audience Network, any of CBS prime-time content directly available through Media Center. "All I need is a broadband connection, I don't even need a tuner now." Of course, an add for Burger King comes up first.

"The great thing is, it's a platform. They can use this platform to create a great monetization business model...It's really that easy."

8:20am PT: "Multitouch is a great platform, but it's also going to revolutionize how you think about the TV experience with Windows 7."

Windows Media Center, "a great touch experience as well." Touch-sensitive screen works with Media Center [as originally intended for the Vista version in an early demo].

USB tuners cost less than $100, can get HDTV over the air. Or get broadcast content from the cable box, whether it has a tuner or not. (Betanews has been attempting to test this out, not all the components have been available yet.)

8:18am PT: Selecting Windows Live Photo Gallery pictures, moving to Windows Live Movie Maker. Imported pictures from camera, added music, already has a slideshow. Testing animations for transitions, one-click posting to YouTube. Can be shrunken down, sent in e-mail. "It really is that simple," Brooks says, invoking a favorite phrase from infomercials.

8:16am PT: [SF3:] Microsoft Corporate Vice President Brad Brooks takes the stage, holding a Nikon D5000 DSLR camera. Demonstrating Device Stage, we're not seeing the pictures yet...there it is. Device Stage, shows the Nikon camera on the Desktop itself.

8:14am PT: [SF3:] Focus around three different screen sizes -- PC, phone, and TV. Kind of a Comcast-like analogy without invoking Comcast by name.

8:12am PT: [SF3:] First mention of multitouch. "A road warrior like me, I love wireless networking."

8:12am PT: [SF3:] Ballmer here uses the exclamation "Boom!" to emphasize the speed increment. You want things simpler, boom. More responsive, boom.

8:06am PT: Kiley, (spelling?), a five-and-a-half-year-old user, says she's visited a ferry and the Statue of Liberty. Kiley now tells Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer he's late. He gives her a pink PC.

8:04am PT: Microsoft is rolling some commercials for Windws Live. On a couple of screens to the sides of the stage. Now, here comes Tami Reller. She welcomes us to "a festive Soho loft" to celebrate the launch of Windows 7. "This is a big day for Microsoft. This is a big day for our customers," she says, adding that it's also a big day for customers worldwide."

8:02am PT: Here I am at Microsoft's Windows 7 launch in New York City. The bash is being thrown at a sort of out-of-the-way venue in the West Village called Skylight Studios. The overall mood here is subdued but expectant. The doors here opened at 10 am Eastern, but people didn't start standing in line until around 9:30, I'd estimate. There's a presentation at 11 am, and folks here are wondering just what Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the other brass are going to say, now that the cat's been out of the bag about Windows 7 for so long.

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