Bill Gates is opening Microsoft’s financial analyst meeting this morning in Redmond with a tech talk. He’s describing what to expect during the next 10 years — an updated version of his “digital decade” speech.
— Processor clock speed won’t keep advancing the way it has over the past 20 years. The big gains will instead come from multiple cores enabling parallel execution.
“We may get up into the 10 gigahertz range but not much higher than that five or six years out,” he said.
— Broadband “lets us think about the computing paradigm in a new way.” Now you have a “balance of computation” between the computer near the user and computing in the datacenters powering online services. Gates of course said that computation near the users is “superior in terms of responsiveness” and doesn’t have the latency issue of network services.
— Bill apparently likes the iPhone. He mentioned it twice in the first 15 minutes of his speech, first as an example of how software is improving mobile devices and second when describing exciting “natural” interfaces such as touch and voice. He also mentioned Nintendo’s Wii and explained how Microsoft has been investing in touch, voice and other natural interfaces for a long time. That was a lead-up to his demonstration of the Surface computing table, which failed to start. Ouch.
“It’s more exciting when it actually does something, which right now it’s not,” he said, before moving on to the next part of his presentation.
— Ten minutes after it froze, the Surface table is awake and Bill’s doing the demo.
— On gadgets, Gates said video will be streamed directly from cameras over improved wireless networks and uploaded to the home. Phones will be multifunction computing devices. “Think of the phone being a remote control, think of it as a device you can do gaming on,” he said.
But unlike Apple, Microsoft’s going to continue to focus mostly on software and work with phone manufacturers.
“Just like with the personal computer itself, the benefit we get from having a lot of hardware partners who can do great things is very helpful to us,” he said.