Microsoft Build 2014: DAY 1

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Build 2014 conference held in San Francisco, Microsoft made slay of software and hardware announcements.

A quick recap of everything announced at the event – and we’re not including the fact that all attendees were treated to an Xbox One and a $500 Microsoft Store gift card. Damn.

DAY 1: 2nd April 2014

Windows Phone 8.1

Among its first announcements was Windows Phone 8.1, an update to its mobile operating system featuring a personal digital assistant named Cortana, a new Action Center, and support for customizable lock-screens and backgrounds? Windows Phone 8.1 will ship on devices starting in May with the new range of Lumia smartphones.

Microsoft also outlined a support for enterprise VPN, S/MIME encryption, and new mobile device management (MDM) capabilities.

Finally, the company also revealed it’s making Windows for phones and tablets less than 9 inches in size available for free.

Windows 8.1

Over in the desktop realm, Microsoft also unveiled Windows 8.1 Update 1, which will be arriving on April 8. New features include an improved Taskbar, better task switching, and Start Screen tweaks that focus on mouse and keyboard users. In short, modern (“Metro”) apps now have Taskbar buttons and title bars. Microsoft has also pre-pinned the Windows Store to the Start Screen.

Universal Windows apps

This one in particular is a big deal – Microsoft today announced universal Windows apps which work across PCs, phones, tablets and the Xbox One. So the Windows runtime in Windows 8.1 Update 1, for example, will be available to Windows Phone developers too.

‘New’ Office for touchscreen devices

The computing giant today previewed a “work in progress” version of the suite, designed specifically for Windows-based touchscreen devices. The presentation centered on a new version of PowerPoint, which Kirk Koenigsbauer, CVP for Microsoft Office, said was “early user experience” code.

Windows for the ‘Internet of Things’

Yup, Microsoft announced it will soon launch a version of Windows for the Internet of Things, costing absolutely zero for hardware-makers to use.

The Internet of Things, for those who don’t know, refers to the phenomenon of everyday objects becoming increasingly ‘connected’ – so cars, refrigerators, watches – you get the idea. The decision is undoubtedly aimed at ensuring Windows continues to dominate in market share.

For more information watch the keynote on Channel 9.

DAY 1 KEYNOTE :  2nd April 2014

Happy BUILD ing.