Microsoft’s 6th Build developers conference began with a keynote where Nadella and other leaders from the company talked about software, artificial intelligence, gaming and the power of computing. Here are the biggest announcements from this year’s keynote:
1. A unified Windows 10 experience
Windows 10 was always meant to be one OS for all devices- including desktops, mobile phones, Xbox One and HoloLens. Finally, Microsoft is implementing the same by bringing Universal Windows Apps onto the Windows Store. Not only will we see older Windows apps (based on .NET and Win32) converted to native Windows 10 apps with the help of a desktop converter tool, but we will also see all new apps from developers all over the world. This includes an all new Facebook app that’ll include Facebook, Instagram and Messenger services in a single app. Uber, Starbucks, Vine, WWE are also bringing new Universal Windows Apps to the Store.
2. HoloLens Developer Edition
The much anticipated AR headset, Microsoft HoloLens, is finally getting a developers edition that interested developers can purchase today onwards for $3000.
Microsoft gave us an on-stage demo of the HoloLens as a tool to teach biology students at Case Western Reserve University how the body functions using 3D holographic projections. HoloLens’ new app ‘Galaxy Explorer’ is an open source app that allows people to explore other planets though the holographic projection of the galaxy.
3. Bots & intelligence everywhere
A key portion of yesterday’s keynote was Microsoft’s emphasis on improving our lives through the integration of bots and artificial intelligence across all the devices we use. The core of ‘Conversations as a Platform’ is Cortana, with will act as an intelligent cross-platform link between you and server side bots. This is prominently demonstrated in Skype - which gets bots support - where Cortana can create events in your calendar, then can call up a bot, say of Westin hotel, to register a hotel booking. All this is done in a simple, humanly chat conversation with Cortana.
Microsoft announced all new APIs for development of bots. These APIs are available on microsoft.com/cognitive. All sorts of bots - form image recognition to speech translation - can be developed using these APIs.
There you go! These were the biggest announcements from the keynote. The Verge compiled a 15 minute summary of the event which you can watch below.
Considering Microsoft is handicapped in developer community, the Build keynote is pushing hard to promote developer support for Microsoft’s services. Indeed Microsoft is aiming high with the bots platform and HoloLens, and I can only hope they become successful in making these services available for consumers as early as possible. A new era of Microsoft has begun - expanding from desktop computing to unified, intelligent and futuristic experiences.
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Images/Video from The Verge