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updated 3/14/2011 2:10:34 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:10:34

LAS VEGAS - The world's largest consumer electronics show kicked off here tonight with a keynote from Microsoft head Steve Ballmer, who announce that avatars are coming to the popular Xbox Kinect setup.

Ballmer used his speech to provide updates and announce upcoming features of the company's three main product lines: the Xbox gaming system, the Windows Phone 7 operating system and the Windows 7 desktop operating system.

Sales of the company's newly announced Kinect motion controller for the Xbox 360 exceeded expectations, Ballmer told an audience of attendees at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

"We predicted we’d sell about 5 million Kinect sensors by the end of the holiday season. We beat that. We sold over 8 million worldwide," Ballmer said.

Ballmer also announced KinectAvatar, a feature that will allow Kinect users to create cartoon representations, or "avatars," of themselves that they can control using their bodies and facial expressions.

"Kinect can now track your smile, your laugh, and even the raise of your eyebrows," Ballmer said.

KinectAvatar will be available this spring.

Ballmer said customer reaction to the recently released Microsoft Windows Phone 7 operating system "has been great," but did not disclose actual sales figures.

Ballmer said the Windows Phone 7 OS will receive updates soon to provide cut-and-paste capability and performance improvements when loading and switching between apps.

While he remained tight-lipped about Windows Phone 7 device sales, Ballmer noted that the company’s latest desktop OS, Windows 7, has been a runaway success.

"Windows 7 PCs are the fastest selling PCs in history," Ballmer said. "Seven copies of Windows 7 are sold every second, and it represents more than 20 percent of all PCs connected to the Internet."

© 2012 TechNewsDaily

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