Jan. 5, 2011 at 9:19 PM ET
UPDATE 10:38 p.m. ET: Angiulo makes it official: He shows a demo of the next version of Windows to highlight new hardware features from Microsoft's production partners. But it's rendered in the current Windows interface because Microsoft isn't discussing details of what's eventually expected to be Windows 8. Microsoft's keynote has come in with much less ambition than had been expected.
UPDATE 10:24 p.m. ET: "There's one more product I want to talk about tonight, and that's the Windows PC," Ballmer says. So probably no Windows TV tonight. Windows Vice President Mike Angiulo comes on and is recapping the announcements the company made this afternoon.
UPDATE 10:15 p.m. ET: Ballmer says Kinect is proving to be far more popular than expected; 8 million consoles were sold during the holiday season, 60 percent above projections. Now he's moved on to Windows Phone 7. There's much applause at word that cut and paste is coming soon.
UPDATE 10:04 p.m. ET: Ballmer confirms Avatar Kinect will be free for XBox Gold members. Msnbc.com's Winda Benedetti has more on Avatar Kinect here.
UPDATE 9:57 p.m. ET: There it is: Forbes announces that Netflix and Hulu will be controllable through your Kinect avatars.
UPDATE 9:54 p.m. ET: Ballmer promises "a little bit of what's coming next" and specifically mentions the XBox 360. Kinect, he proclaims, "extended entertainment to the entire family." Nearly a half-hour in, we've still been given nothing solid to chew on, and Ballmer is now ushering entertainment engineer Ron Forbes on-stage to demonstrate what XBox and Kinect currently do.
UPDATE 9:42 p.m. ET: Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro comes out 10 minutes late to introduce Ballmer, but not before making his standard "the consumer electronics industry is booming" pitch, plus a plug for his new book.
UPDATE 9:33 p.m. ET: They're running a little late. "We're going to begin shortly," an announced announces a couple of minutes after the show was supposed to start.
9:30 p.m. ET: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer kicks off the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show when he delivers the main keynote presentation tonight in Las Vegas. The presentation begins at 9:30 p.m. ET, and we'll be here trying to keep you up to date, as long as the very tetchy communications bedeviling everybody play nice.
Microsoft is streaming the presentation live here.
Earlier today, Microsoft previewed a little bit of what it's doing at CES, showing off an ARM mobile "system on a chip" processor, some slick tablet hardware and an update of its Surface table computing system. But its low-wattage presentation left the distinct impression that Ballmer will get to deliver the good stuff.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC News.)
It's not clear just how much that will be. We thought Microsoft would talk about its next iteration of Windows this afternoon, but it didn't, and after the embarrassing fallout from Ballmer's presentation here last year — when he enthusiastically brandished a Windows-running Hewlett-Packard slate computer that never made it to market — it's anybody's guess just how specific the company is daring to be.
Fairly well-established expectations, though, are that Ballmer will indeed touch on what will presumably be called Windows 8, and possibly a Google TV-style Windows TV box. And it's widely expected that the visual "wow" will come in a demonstration of Kinect Avatar, which would let XBoxers interact with one another through their hands-free avatars on the Kinect console.
One thing is sure: The hyper-enthusiastic Ballmer will inject a big dose of energy into what's so far been a rather low-key run-up to the official opening of CES tomorrow.