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Microsoft Build 2016 - Day 1 Keynote Quick Take

by Jeff Martin on Mar 30, 2016 |

Microsoft's annual Build developer conference began today in San Francisco's Moscone Center.  Read on for InfoQ's coverage as Microsoft announced their plans for the Cloud, Windows 10, and the Internet of Things.  (This was written live during the keynote, please excuse any spelling or typographical errors.)

Satya Nadella is the first to speak providing a brief introduction where he discusses the role of technology in our daily lives—“our society & technology”.  Nadella feels there is room for a broad discussion about technology’s role industry wide, including a how privacy can be supported or ruined by technology.  Nadella is optimistic that technology can contribute positively to society and improving people’s lives.

Microsoft mission:  Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more

Related to this mission was the following goals:

Interconnected Ambitions:

  1. Create more personal computing
  2. Reinvent productivity and business processes
  3. Build the intelligent cloud platform

 

Terry Myerson then takes the stage to discuss the adoption of Windows 10.  270 million people are using Windows 10.  Partners have released over 500 new devices for Windows 10.  Myerson states that Windows 10 adoption is highest ever for Windows.  Interestingly, the graph provided does illustrate that Windows 7 adoption is higher than Windows 8 while Windows 10 is higher than both.

The first big product announcement is that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is coming this summer.  As part of this update, Microsoft Edge will support biometric authentication and provide this capability to supporting websites.

Bryan Roper then arrives on stage to demo some of the new features in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.  This update will be able to read pen written sticky notes and intelligently read them (example of parsing a pen written note to call mom tomorrow) is translated to a calendar reminder.  On-screen ruler can be used to draw straight lines, just like paper.  Able to draw on Bing Maps, whether it be 2D or 3D, and it will be placed appropriately to provide distances and record notes.  Intelligent highlighting in Word, smooths out jerky hand motions.  Ruler also available in Power Point.  Demo of Adobe application that provides French curve stencil (via touch) while simultaneously with pen input.

Kevin Gallo to present developer news.  Gallo says Microsoft wants Windows to be home for developers.  Additional product announcements of Visual Studio 2015 Update 2 and the Windows 10 Anniversary SDK Release.

Another benefit of the update will be the ability to run new Linux binaries natively on Windows.  The example of Ubuntu binaries was given, and Gallo demonstrated running the Bash shell natively, and from there was able to run Emacs.

Gallo introduced the new Desktop App Converter, which can take an existing MSI or Setup.exe and creates an APPX package from this.  Existing code is unmodified, so if Windows 10 is not detected the regular application will still work as-is.  (Exact details of this process are not yet available.)

Phil Spencer arrives to discuss Xbox and gaming on UWP.  Reiterates that Windows 10 is a fully open development ecosystem.  Updates coming to allow UWP to disable V-SYNC and enable G-SYNC, full screen games, modding, overlays, and more—intending to address complaints about UWP being a restricted and locked-down platform.

Next Ashley Speicher took the stage to demonstrate how a regular retail Xbox One can be seamlessly converted to a developer mode.  The Xbox One can then be a target for deployment from Visual Studio 2015.  All XAML controls are designed to work with touch, mouse, or controller so the user receives the best experience available based on the device they are using.  As part of this developer mode, an app will be provided for your Xbox that sets up a developer settings page.  Called Dev Home, it provides developer settings, test accounts, etc.  Xbox can be returned to retail mode at any time.  Dev Mode preview will be released today.

Other enhancements coming for the Xbox One A single universal store will combine the existing Xbox One and Windows 10 stores.  Background music playing will also be enabled in the Anniversary Update for Xbox.

Microsoft has released the Microsoft Bot Framework.  Makes rule-based natural language understanding available for building and using bots.   Cognitive services APIs have also been released.

Perhaps the most exciting and moving demo was at the end that shows some of these concepts in action.  Microsoft showed a video that shows how intelligent glasses can describe to the wearer (who is blind) what is happening in front of them via audio.  The example showed how the glasses identified a skateboarder, and the people in a conversation (mood / gender / age).  Also used audio feedback to guide the user to take a proper picture of a menu (so that it appears correctly in a camera) and then reads the menu to him.

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