Microsofts Ballmer: Windows Phone 7s a Player

Microsoft might just be a player again in the mobile space, according to new numbers from the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant.

During his keynote speech at this weeks Consumer Electronics Show, CEO Steve Ballmer announced that 1.5 million smartphones based on the Windows Phone 7 operating system have been shipped since it made its debut in November. Sure, thats small potatoes compared to the 14 million iPhones and 20 million Android-based smartphones sold in Q3 2010, but at least its more than a blip on the screen that many analysts predicted.

Ballmer says the Windows Phone 7 storefront is becoming more attractive as it now has more than 5,500 applications from which to choose. Look for those numbers to increase and for Microsoft to aggressively” market its smartphone platform in 2011.

Beyond phones, Ballmer focused on what was probably the companys biggest success of 2010, the hands-free Kinect controller for Xbox 360, which sold a whopping 8 million units. He also touted an update to the companys table-sized touchscreen, the Surface, due this year.

Not wanting to be left behind in the tablet arena, Ballmer demonstrated a product to run on ARM processors that will help Microsoft keep up with future Android and Apple operating systems releases for slate devices.

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