Every year, Microsoft holds a conference for developers called Build, and this is where it lays out its software agenda for the year. This year’s edition is starting at 8:30AM PT (4:30PM GMT+1) tomorrow, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Tickets to the event sold out in 60 seconds, so those of us who aren’t attending can stream it online.
The most important announcement last year, was the fact that they’ve built “4 bridges” to help developers bring their Android and iOS apps to Windows 10. Many native Windows developers made a fuss about how the move invalidated all the effort they had put into the Windows Platform. Soon after, the Android bridge, named Astoria, was quietly removed with Microsoft saying it “wasn’t ready yet”. It probably won’t ever be.
So…what do we expect this year?
I read that Microsoft is opening up pre-orders for its HoloLens development edition today and they will start shipping tomorrow.
If you’re wondering what HoloLens is, it is Microsoft’s new $3000 augmented reality and holographic headset. Well, ‘new’ is italicised because it was first unveiled a year ago, but it’s only going to be released to developers this week, and to the general public further down the line.
HoloLens allows you see, hear and interact with holograms within any space, and one can only imagine the cool things you’ll be able to do with it when it’s released to everyone. Holographic Skype calls? Gameplay? 3D modelling?
They’ve timed the developer release to perfection, so I expect that a large chunk of the Build event will be dedicated to HoloLens demos and talks.
Since it was released in July last year, Microsoft has kept Windows 10 pretty up-date (this is noteworthy especially when you consider that they haven’t given the users a say in the matter). You WILL update your Windows 10 PC.
Still, it’s installed on only around 10.1% of all the devices in the world. Slightly disappointing numbers, since they announced that it would be their last operating system. Windows 7 still looks the more popular option by a wide margin.
Microsoft has also hinted at a feature called Interactive Live Tiles, which essentially allows you to perform actions like reply messages/emails without having to open the apps themselves (pretty much like what Apple has done with 3D Touch).
I also expect there to be lots of talk about Cortana, their digital assistant and how powerful she’s gotten/will get in the coming year.
Apple is inhaling 94% of the profits in the smartphone space. This doesn’t leave many crumbs from the table for all the other players in the space, so it’s safe to say that Windows Phone is dead.
Build will be a good opportunity for Microsoft to let us know what its plans are for the mobile operating system. Let’s keep their new Universal strategy in mind (which essentially blurs out the lines between mobile and desktop apps).
Other interesting stuff
From Cloud, to Office 365, to XBox, to what they’re going to do with SwiftKey, Wunderlist, Sunrise, Skype etc. There’s a lot of stuff in Microsoft’s arsenal, and we’ll be paying attention to see what gets unveiled and what gets shut down.
Like…Windows. Get it?