The 2016 Build Developer Conference is well underway this week in San Francisco with massive announcements being unveiled.
Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, discussed several developments during Microsoft’s keynote address that offer a great deal of insight into the company’s vision and goals for gaming across the Universal Windows Platform (UWP).
Windows 10 has been a massive success with over 270 million active devices and over 75 BILLION hours spent on Windows, which also boasts the highest customer satisfaction rate in Windows history.
The main announcements made today include:
- Windows Hello Brings Biometric Security to Apps and Microsoft Edge
- Windows Ink Brings the Power of Windows to the Tip of Your Pen
- Cortana, Now More Helpful than Ever, with over 1,000 apps
- UWP apps come to Xbox through a Unified Windows Store and every Xbox One can become a dev kit
Along with more details regarding HoloLens, more options for developers, and of course, the muchly anticipated Background Music feature for the Xbox One.
Here are all the details provided directly from the Windows Blog:
1. Windows Hello Brings Biometric Security to Apps and Microsoft Edge
Windows Hello enables you to easily sign into your device with enterprise-grade security. Yet, studies show over 80% of people use the same password across multiple web sites, managing around 20-30 different accounts requiring passwords. So with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update we’ve made it possible for you to use the same easy, yet strong, security of Windows Hello* with Windows apps and Microsoft Edge, the first and only browser to natively support biometrics, with supporting sites.
2. Windows Ink Brings the Power of Windows to the Tip of Your Pen
More than 70% of us spend more than one hour a day using a pen. We lose notes in our notebooks, take pictures of whiteboards, and can’t do equations or music composition with a keyboard. Windows Ink is an all-new experience, putting the power of Windows in the tip of your pen, enabling you to write on your device as you do on paper, creating sticky notes, drawing on a whiteboard, and easily sharing your analog thoughts in the digital world. Windows Ink is integrated into apps like Maps, Microsoft Edge, and Office. And today, we demonstrated how developers can incorporate Windows Ink into their apps with as little as 2 lines of code!
3. Cortana, Now More Helpful than Ever, with over 1,000 apps
Windows 10 is the best place to have a conversation with Cortana, with nearly 1,000 Cortana-enabled apps already available. Today, we’re launching a new Cortana Collection in the Windows Store to make it easy for you to find great apps with Cortana. And in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Cortana** has learned how to proactively make suggestions for you through-out your day, like offering to buy you lunch or arrange transportation. Cortana will be available above the lock screen, giving you quicker access to your personal assistant for common tasks across all types of devices without unlocking your PC. And only Cortana works across your devices – you can complete certain notification-based tasks on your Windows or Android phone, such as receiving and sending text messages, on your PC. Developers now have full access to Cortana’s proactive intelligence through proactive actions, allowing your apps to perform tasks based on user context by linking existing actions in your deep-link enabled apps and websites.
4. UWP apps come to Xbox through a Unified Windows Store and every Xbox One can become a dev kit
Gaming gets better with the Windows 10 Anniversary update, including background music and Cortana coming to Xbox One. Cortana can become your personal gaming assistant and help you find great new games, new challenges or tips and tricks. On Windows 10, we’re continuing to deliver on top fan-requested features like support for multiple GPUs and the ability to turn off v-sync. Game developers have access to a fully open ecosystem with the Universal Windows Platform, making it easy to bring the games people love to both Xbox One and other Windows 10 devices. With the Anniversary Update, any Xbox One can be a developer kit with Xbox Dev Mode, enabling anyone to develop for the living room. And, the Windows Store will offer a unified store experience for all developers, creating new opportunities to reach millions of new customers.
Microsoft HoloLens Available Today
Today is very exciting because we begin shipping HoloLens! HoloLens mixes holograms into our world, enabling all new ways for us to communicate, create, work and play. It’s the only device that enables holographic computing natively with no markers, no external cameras, no wires, no phone required, and no connection to a PC needed. And customers across industries are embracing the potential of holograms already, including NASA, Case Western Reserve University, Volvo, and more.
Making Windows 10 the best Developer Environment
With so many great apps coming to Windows 10, the Windows Store has already received over 5 billion visits.
Our goal is for Windows to be the best platform for all developers. And we are so proud of the great things our partners are doing on top of this platform. We’re excited about new Universal Windows Platform apps from Twitter, Uber, King, Disney, Wargaming Group, Square Enix, Yahoo, and WWE – with new apps on the way from Bank of America, Starbucks, Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Facebook will also be bringing the Facebook Audience Network SDK and App Install Ads to the Universal Windows Platform – enabling 3 million Facebook advertisers to reach Windows 10 customers later this year. With so many great apps coming to Windows 10, the Windows Store has already received over 5 billion visits.
Today, we made several announcements designed for different types of developers:
- Web developers have had great success with Windows 10 Hosted Web Apps, driving greater engagement and high store reviews, including American Express, BBC Sport, Yahoo Mail, zulily, and many, many more. But they consistently had one ask before they could make Windows 10 their primary development environment – and today, we responded, sharing that you’ll be able to run native bash on Windows.
- Win32 and .Net developers have been seeking to extend their applications with Universal Windows Platform capabilities, and distribute their apps in the Windows Store. Today, we shared our new desktop app converter for Project Centennial, which will enable them to do just that.
- .Net developers have been seeking a way to share more of their code across platforms. Xamarin will help make that possible!
For over thirty years, Windows has been an open ecosystem, welcoming the contributions of hardware and software partners and developers around the world. Nothing changes with the Universal Windows Platform – it brings together the openness that is part of Windows’ history, as well as everything that you expect from a modern application platform – like robust install, uninstall, and seamless updates. Our goal is for Windows to be the best platform for ALL developers – making Windows their home and getting the best return on their investment in their code.
It was an exciting morning for us at Build, and we look forward to meeting with thousands of developers over the coming days to hear their feedback. We can’t wait to see what developers create with the new innovations coming to Windows 10, lighting up all new experiences in their apps, bringing their code to the Universal Windows Platform, and delighting their customers around the world.
If you’d like to be the first to try the new innovations coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, you can join the Windows Insider program and install the latest build. Starting today, developers in the Windows Insider Program can access the Windows Anniversary SDK Preview to explore the new features.