Cringely here, reporting from CES in Vegas, where rude beasts walk the earth (at least, the ones that don't crawl or slither), impeded in their forward progress only by hip-deep mounds of tablet PCs. Everyone appears to be tapping, swiping, and gesturing on some kind of sleek black touch-sensitive device, when they're not squinting at blurry 3D screens waiting for their turn with the polarized glasses.
I slipped into town incognito to catch the goings-on at our industry's annual feeding frenzy, but the biggest conclusion I've come away with was something unexpected: Intel and Microsoft, the PC generation's answer to Brad and Angelina, are on the outs. If it's not exactly the end of an era, it's something awfully close. And all I can say is it's about friggin' time.
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At the Sandy Bridge press conference, the words "Microsoft" and "Windows" were scarcely heard. Intel representatives were eager to show off products running Sandy Bridge (now known as the second-generation Intel core), like Google Smart TVs, set-top boxes from Boxee and Logitech, and a raft of tablets running Android and Meego, a Linux-based OS developed jointly by Intel and Nokia.
How about Windows 7 tablets? I asked a demo dude in Intel's booth.
Of course, there will be Windows 7 tablets too, he answered. Next question.
I can't remember the last time anyone from Intel had to be prompted to endorse its partner in Wintel crimes.
Microsoft, of course, chose CES as the venue to introduce the first version of Windows to run on a processor based not on the Intel architecture but rather on ARM-based system-on-a-chips manufactured by TI, Qualcomm, and Nvidia. Yes, Intel was also mentioned, but it clearly got second billing. That's also new.
It's as if they both decided to stay together for the sake of the kids while quietly seeing other people.