Microsoft Build 2017 highlights: Windows 10 hits 500 million devices, Cortana gets smarter

Here's what Microsoft announced on the day one of the Build conference, which is currently happening in Seattle.

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 11, 2017 10:15 am
Microsoft Build 2017, Build 2017 day 1, Microsoft Build 2017 highlights, Build 2017 announcements, Microsoft Build 2017 developers conference, Build 2017 developers conference, Azure, Cortana, Artifical intelligence, technology, technology news Here’s what Microsoft announced on the day one of the Build conference (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft kicked off its annual Build developers conference on Wednesday with a jam-packed three-hour keynote. While the company is hardly announcing a new hardware at the Build conference, the focus will be entirely to solidify its position in the enterprise segment through various tools and services. A big theme of this year was Microsoft’s consistent efforts to push artificial intelligence (AI) into all its major portfolio, from Azure to Xbox and Office. Here’s what Microsoft announced on the day one of the Build conference, which is currently happening in Seattle. You can livestream the entire keynote from the Build 2017 site.

Windows 10 hits a major milestone 

Windows 10 is now running on over 500 million machines, which is a great start for a new operating system. Microsoft originally set the goal of reaching 1 billion devices by mid-2018, a goal that seems unlikely to hit. Windows 10 was released in 2015, and by the end of September it was at 100 million devices.

HP’s Cortana speaker

In an effort to beat Amazon and Google, Microsoft announced it has inked partnerships with HP and Intel to bring Cortana-powered voice-activated speakers to the market in the near future. Unfortunately, details aren’t available about the smart speaker. Earlier this week, Microsoft and Harman Kardon announced the ‘Invoke’ Cortana-powered speaker, which will hit the market later this year.

Cortana skills 

Announced at the Build conference was the new Cortana Skills set, which will allow third-party developers to create new skills  – or even port existing  Alexa skills for the Windows platform. This will definitely improve Cortana and make upcoming hardware much better.

Microsoft’s presentation translator

Powerpoint can now translate slideshows in real time. Essentially, the translator plugin will offer real-time translation of powerpoint presentations without removing the original formatting. A Microsoft Garage project, the plug-in uses Translation APIs to translate content from any Powerpoint presentation into 10 different languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish). The plugin can also provide translated subtitles in real-time.

Visual studio for Mac

Microsoft has announced its Visual Studio coding platform for the Mac. It basically allows developers to code apps using Microsoft’s development environment on Apple’s Mac OS. Previously it was available for preview.

Azure app

At its Build 2017, Microsoft announced an iOS and Android Azure app. With the new mobile app, users can maintain their Azure Cloud on the go. The mobile app will come with support for new Azure Cloud Shell. Plus, Microsoft is working on a UWP Azure app for Windows 10 devices.

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