At Microsoft’s Build 2015 keynote in San Francisco’s Moscone Center, the company built (get it?) on the promise of the company’s services becoming unified and available everywhere. Let’s recap what happened:
Office for iPad gets add-in support
Office for iPad is getting the ability to include add-ins like their desktop and online counterparts. This initiative will start in Excel and then move to Word and PowerPoint in the “near future” before coming to Office for Android “later this year.”
Add-ins coming to Outlook.com
Add-ins will be coming to Outlook.com this summer. Launch partners include the following.
- Uber- Allows for a ride reminder to be added to any calendar event.
- Boomerang- Allows messages to be scheduled for delivery, to get reminders if they don’t respond and suggests free time to meet with someone
- PayPal- Allows you to send money “without leaving your inbox.”
Windows 10 coming to a billion devices within three years
Clearly, Microsoft has big hopes for Windows 10, and Windows chief Terry Myerson racketed up the pressure by claiming that Redmond wants to see the operating system on one billion devices in the first two/three years after its release.
“No other platform working in any ecosystem is available on one billion devices.”
-Terry Myerson, Windows chief
Microsoft believes that they will hit that target between its free upgrade offer for existing Windows devices, new devices, and plans for business users. To compare, it took about 15 months to sell 200 million licenses of Windows 8.
“To make [Windows 10] work for developers, we know this needs to be widely adopted.”
Windows 10 will run reworked Android, iOS apps
iOS and Android developers will be able to port their apps and games directly to Windows with two new Microsoft SDKs.
On Android, Redmond is allowing developers to use Java and C++ code for Windows 10, and iOS developers will be able to use their Objective C code.
“We want to enable developers to leverage their current code and current skills to start building those Windows applications in the Store, and to be able to extend those applications.
“Initially, [Microsoft’s Android work] will be analogous to what Amazon offers. If they’re using some Google API, we have created Microsoft replacements for those APIs.”
-Terry Myerson, in an interview with The Verge
Microsoft has been testing its new tools with developers like King, who’s best known for Candy Crush Saga, to port games over to Windows. The game’s current Windows Phone version has been converted from iOS code using Microsoft’s tools.
“At times we’ve thought, let’s just do iOS. But when we think of Windows, we really think of everyone on the planet. There’s countries where iOS devices aren’t available.”
– Terry Myerson
Alongside these SDKs, Microsoft also revealed ways for websites and Windows desktop apps to become Windows universal apps. The company has created ways to run inside a Windows universal app, and use system services like notifications and in-app purchases.
Developers will also be able to leverage their .NET and Win32 work and bring this to Windows universal apps.
The company is using some of its HyperV work to virtualize these existing desktop apps on Windows 10. Adobe Photoshop Elements is among the apps coming to the Windows Store with Windows 10 as a universal app, using the aforementioned virtualization technology.
“We want to structure the platform so it’s not an all or nothing. If you use everything together it’s beautiful, but that’s not required to get started.”
So long Project Spartan, hello Microsoft Edge
In January, we learned about Microsoft’s plans to ditch Internet Explorer. Known initially as Project Spartan, the company has now revealed its official name: Microsoft Edge.
The company will keep Internet Explorer around for enterprise users. Early Edge previews include features like digital ink annotation, Cortana integration, and a built-in reading list.
“You’re going to care about the blasting fast technology that’s inside it.”
Edge will be Windows 10’s default browser, and the one that most users use for browsing the web (or, to download an alternate browser at the very least).
Similar to how Windows 10 supports Android and iOS code, the browser also supports Chrome and Firefox browser extensions.
Extensions will live in Edge’s toolbar.
Windows 10 phones can turn into a full PC with Continuum for Phones
Continuum for Phones will allow Windows 10-toting smartphones to transform into a desktop PC-esque experience when connected to a larger screen.
Belifore demonstrated apps like Excel and Photos running in a traditional desktop form factor with a Windows 10 smartphone hooked up to a monitor. He also showed content being copied from phone-centric apps like Messaging and pasted into desktop apps.
“What we’re trying to show here today, is our unique vision for phones and enabling them to scale up to a full PC-like experience.”
Contnuum for Phones won’t come to existing Windows Phone devices. The feature will require new devices capable of driving this dual-screen feature.
Windows 10 apps coming to HoloLens
Windows 10 apps will run within Microsoft’s hologram-generating HoloLens headset.
“With holograms, you’ll have a new canvas. Your apps can come to life.”
-Alex Kipman, HoloLens designer
Microsoft is partnering with NASA, Unity, Legendary, Autodesk, and the Walt Disney Company, among others for HoloLens.
Microsoft putting ads on Windows 10 lock screen
Redmond is unveiling a new lock screen for Windows 10 that will change over time and customize itself based on how each person uses their computer. The new lock screen is optional, but if you enable it, you’ll see something that looks like the Bing homepage: a Microsoft-provided image with hot spots that you can mouse over for more information. On the lock screen, the image would change on a weekly basis, and those hot spots will also provide tips on how to use Windows and suggestions for what apps you might want to download.
This lock screen is called Windows Spotlight. If someone has recently gotten a Windows 10 computer and hasn’t tried Cortana, Spotlight might change their desktop to a Cortana-like image and include tips on how to use the personal assistant. If a tablet user hasn’t used their stylus, Spotlight might display an image highlighting drawing apps.