Microsoft has just concluded two days of keynotes at its Build developer conference. Day 1 was all about new Azure data and cloud services, and Cortana and AI, while day 2 focused on Windows and mixed reality.
Here are a few announcements that got me excited:
Due later this year, the Fall Creators Update will see the continued evolvement of the Windows 10 interface and broader availability of the company’s mixed reality experience. And since this is still branded as a Creators Update, there’s going to be a new app for creators. There are also a few very interesting cross-device experiences that you’ll get to enjoy thanks to the connection with Microsoft Graph, which you can read about here.
A highly anticipated feature since Microsoft removed OneDrive placeholders in Windows 8.1, OneDrive Files On-Demand allows access to all files in the cloud without having to download them and use storage space on a specific device. There are new status icons so you’ll know exactly if a file is now in the local drive, online in the cloud, or always on the disk. On-Demand Files will also work with both the consumer version of OneDrive and OneDrive for Business.
Story Remix is an evolution of the Photos app that makes it easier than ever to create video stories using your photos and videos. It uses deep learning and AI to automatically tag your content and is able to bring the most relevant content together to form video stories, each with a soundtrack, theme, and transitions. You can remix your stories, edit them, and share them with others. Story Remix is also one of the few apps that includes elements of Microsoft’s new Fluent Design.
A single Harman Kardon Invoke speaker clearly isn’t enough to fulfill Cortana’s grand ambition of going places. The Cortana Skills Kit is now in public preview in the U.S., and Microsoft has announced that it’s partnering with HP to create Cortana-powered devices (more speakers?) and Intel for reference platforms. Is this the start of more Cortana hardware partnerships?
A lot of high-level Azure tools and services (Azure Cosmo DB! Azure Cloud Shell! Azure Service Fabric!) were announced at Build, as well as dev tools to make Windows home for non-Windows developers (e.g., Xamarin Live Player, Ubuntu on the Windows Store, with SUSE Linux and Fedora Linux on their way). I’ve picked Visual Studio for Mac, a mobile and cloud IDE, because that's the tool I'm most familiar with (yes, I'm bias). Build is a developer conference after all, so I'm glad to note that Microsoft has once again kept to its fine tradition of churning out kick-ass developer tools.
If you develop for Office or if you’re an Office commercial user, you can check out some of the new Office initiatives Microsoft has announced here. For me, I’m impressed by the new Presentation Translator add-in that’s going to bring real-time translations to PowerPoint. Talk about breaking the language barrier between presenters and audience.
Apple is going to bring its giant iTunes app to the Windows Store. Enough said.
The synopsis: Emma can write again thanks to a prototype watch, raising hope for Parkinson’s disease.
I’m just going to drop the video here, go watch it:
Build 2017 news