SEATTLE — Microsoft’s Build developer conference is always an interesting beast. Developers flock there for the newest coding tools, but the company also takes the time to detail the future of the company, including features for Windows and other new tech that’s ready for enterprise.
While there’s still some time left at this year’s Build, here’s a few of the biggest, coolest things you may have missed.
A new focus on phones
Windows 10 Mobile lost the war, but Microsoft is not giving up on phones The future for the company is to make Windows 10 compatible with iOS and Android in ways that you’ll take your Windows experience on the go. At its Keynote, Microsoft announced an app called Your Phone to send and receive text messages, transfer photos and receive notifications from Windows 10, all without taking your smartphone out of your pocket. Microsoft is also bringing Timeline to the Microsoft Launcher on Android and Edge on iOS.
Alexa and Cortana join forces
Alexa is one of the most popular digital assistants. Cortana? Not so much. But in an attempt to escape the walled garden, Amazon and Microsoft are letting their assistants share each others smarts, both through smart speakers and in Windows 10. While we don’t have a firm release date, asking one to summon the other seems pretty seamless.
Mixed Reality means business
With a mix of HoloLens and Mixed Reality headsets, Microsoft is continuing to push both AR and VR into the enterprise. That includes two new features: Remote Assist for chatting and collaborating, and Layout to create spaces in mixed reality.
Big AI Push
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made it clear that Microsoft’s AI will be for people, and will be ethical. The company is starting a $25 million program to fund AI projects that assist people with disabilities. He also highlighted users’ right to privacy and the company’s attempts to remove human biases. This has put AI in a better light than other companies as of late thanks to recent scandals.
A Few New Windows 10 Features
Even if it's not the primary focus, it wouldn’t be Build without a few new hints at what’s to come with Windows 10. The company is showing off more of Sets, a feature in the works to group together programs you’re using on specific projects. It’s also adding rich card interaction to programs like Outlook, which will support Microsoft Pay so that you can pay bills directly from your inbox.