Speaking at this year's Professional Developers Conference in Redmond, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer talked up the next generation of Windows Phone 7 smartphones and computing in the cloud at his opening keynote speech.

In a wide-ranging speech that touched on Windows 7, Internet Explorer and the new Windows Phone 7, the Microsoft boss was in a typically ebullient mood.

Nailed the smartphone

Speaking about Windows Phone 7, Ballmer said: "We really kind of nailed it. Windows Phone is a different kind of phone. It looks different, it works different."

"I am pumped up to have a chance to be here today," he added, though was not seen to punch the air at any point during the speech, as he has infamously done on a number of past occasions.

"I may not do the developer prance since I don't think I can ever do it as well," he joked.

Developers, developers, developers

All of the attendees at the conference were gifted a free Windows Phone 7, with Ballmer telling them lots about the phone's "thoroughly modern" user interface.

He added that a wide range of devices that will be available this year from AT&T Wireless and T-Mobile in the USA, from the "rugged" through to the "refined, gentle and elegant."

Following the heavy focus on Windows Phone 7, Ballmer went on to speak a little more about the web, HTML5 and Internet Explorer 9

IE9 has been downloaded 10 million times, Ballmer said.

"The glue that allows this world to come together and allows for amazing innovation is HTML5," Ballmer added, talking more about cloud-computing platform Azure, Office 365 and Windows Live.

As far as Azure goes, there were a number of new features announced, including:

Virtual machine features – to allow companies to move server applications that run on Windows Server to the cloud

Application marketplace - the Windows Azure Marketplace is an app store like iTunes for companies to sell cloud applications.

Minipricing - reducing a customer's financial risk of trying out the cloud.

Via Seattle Times