Saturday, July 6, 2013

BUILD 2013 – Windows Keynote Summary


Last week was an exciting time in San Francisco, the way it can only be for the techies around the world. Microsoft hosted its annual developer conference for the third time since BUILD came to life, and this time it took place in San Francisco, home of Apple and Google.

There is a lot of information in the web already, and you can go straight to Channel 9 to watch the keynote and the developer sessions videos yourself. However, I wanted to share a short summary from the notes I took during the first day’s keynote, most of it related to Windows and Devices.


Windows 8.1

  • Windows 8.1 Preview is announced and made available for download.
  • Windows 8.1 allows users to boot straight to the desktop.
  • Windows 8.1 brings back the Start Button, which can take you to the Start Screen of to the Full List of Apps.
  • Windows 8.1 improves the multi-screen experience, allowing different screen. resolutions, and making the transitions between screens automatically.
  • Windows 8.1 comes with the Bing platform deeply integrated.
  • Small tablets introduced and encouraged.
  • Window 8.1 improves the portrait experience.
  • Windows 8.1 improves the keyboard gestures, making it easier to type in landscape and portrait.
  • Windows 8.1 comes with lots of app improvements.
  • Mail App improvements.
  • Bing enhancements.
  • Xbox Music redesigned.
  • Music playlists can be now generated from existing websites automatically.
  • Windows 8.1 enables home screen slide shows.
  • Windows 8.1 allows to open apps from lock screen without having to log in. Perfect for answer calls or seeing calendar appointments.
  • Swipe up from Start Screen to reveal full list of apps installed on the system.
  • Animated backgrounds in the start Screen.
  • SkyDrive deeply integrated within the OS to provide a seamless experience.
  • Hands-free camera gestures introduced. Specially handy for presentations.
  • Snap functionality now allows apps to take any size of the screen.
  • Multi-screen apps, effectively allowing multiple windows to run at the same time.
  • Power Point heavy enhancements, specially regarding transitions.
  • Windows 8.1 supports native 3D printing. Works like sending documents to any normal printer.

Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio 2013 preview announced and available for download.
  • Lots of new tools for performance and energy consumption analysis.
  • Async debugging improved. Amazing feature set for developers.
  • Push Notifications embedded within the IDE. Incredibly easy to set up and test.

Windows Store

  • Windows Store redesigned to provide a more compelling and personalized experience.
  • Windows Store picks for each user. Personalized experience.
  • New generation of Windows apps will be available, including Flipboard, Facebook and NFL Fantasy Football.
  • App updates are automatic in Windows 8.1, removing the need for the user to be constantly updating apps, and ensuring developers that apps will always run the latest version.
  • More than 100K Windows Phone apps in the store.

Graphics and Gaming

  • WebGL now supported.
  • MPEG Dash supported.
  • DirectX Tiled Resources and high resolution games in Windows 8.1 and Xbox One.
  • Project Spark presented. Crowd goes wild!

Bing as a Platform

  • Bing now available as a platform for developers to create tailored search experiences based on the platform.
  • Bing as a platform offers semantic search for developers.
  • Maps with 3D support.
  • Scan, extract and translate functionality.
  • Voice commands.

That is a short, bullet-point style summary of the keynote. You can watch the full video online at Channel 9. Hopefully, I’ll be blogging as much as possible about the Windows 8.1 updates as I play more and more with them on my tablets.

See you soon!

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