As I sit down to write this article, CES 2011 (Consumer Electronics Show) was nearly a month ago and it has taken this long to get over it and get back to normality!

The venue for CES 2011 was Las Vegas (as I am sure everyone probably realises by now), but the actual event was spread over multiple halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Las Vegas Hilton, The Venetian and many other meeting rooms and suites throughout Las Vegas.

As usual, CES was a mixture of press conferences, meetings and walking the show floor over 5 days. And as usual the event was both huge, and packed with thousands upon thousands of visitors, press and industry types.

As usual Microsoft had a very large booth right when you come through the main doors into the show. They had lots of things on display, things you could touch and play with, watch, see, talk about, etc, and they had a lot of staff on hand.

The best way I can describe it would be to say that a very large area of the booth was given over to Xbox and Kinect, then smaller sections on gaming, another very large section on Windows Phone 7 with phones you could actually use and play with, then there were other smaller sections and a Windows PC Gallery which had lots of new and exciting pcs, netbooks, laptops, tablets and more to look at.

You can see some pictures and a quick video I took over on my website: http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/2011/01/13/ces-2011-a-look-around-the-microsoft-booth/

The Kinect booths were very cool – they were large closed off pods that housed a huge screen and a Kinect device which you could step into and really get to play on. It was quite funny to watch people in suits dancing around for everyone to see!

Just about every single Windows Phone 7 device was on display and available to both touch and use (which is certainly different to walking into a phone store when you mostly get dummy devices). You could really see that Microsoft was putting in a lot of effort in showing off just what Windows Phone 7 could do.

One of the coolest parts of the booth was called the Windows PC Gallery. This was a huge area filled with different computers, laptops, tablets and more showing off Windows, and there were some new devices as well. Unfortunately a lot of the devices were behind glass so you couldn’t get to play with them, but it was really cool to see!

Behind the scenes Microsoft were showing off some Embedded technology in a demo suite they had arranged. I really think that Embedded is going to change the playing field for devices such as Media Center.

Unfortunately for anyone who was expecting some big announcement or showing of Windows Home Server Code Name Vail, there was disappointment. Hopefully there will be some news about Vail very soon!

So, that was the Microsoft booth – what else was there to see at CES? Well the usual assortment of 3D televisions and tablet devices were on show. I lost count of the number of new tablets that were being demonstrated. It will certainly be interesting to see how many actually make it to market as a lot were shown off at CES 2010 then Apple announced the iPad and they all pretty much disappeared!

There were lots of companies also showing off various bits and pieces for Apple devices, even though Apple themselves don’t ever have a presence at CES.

And one of the coolest announcements? Well that would be the release of all of the Star Wars movies on Blu-Ray. The announcement was made at the Panasonic booth by Darth Vader and a large handful of Storm Troopers.

I can’t want to see what CES 2012 brings.

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Andrew Edney is a Windows Home Server MVP and has his own technology website: http://usingwindowshomeserver.com. He had also written a number of technology books (not books on cats) and you can follow him on Twitter at @aedney.