Microsoft had a lot to showcase at this year’s annual developers conference, from the first Cortana-powered smart speaker to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. This year’s Build conference heavily focused on artificial intelligence, machine learning and mixed reality. Here’s the look at the most important announcements from the event.
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
The next Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is coming later this year, and it’s got a ton of new features. A cloud-powered Clipboard, which will allow users to enable copy and pasting between Windows 10, iOS and Android devices. “Pick Up Where You Left” will allow users to continue to work on a number of different devices. Then there’s something called the “OneDrive Files On-Demand”, which basically makes it easier to access cloud documents locally. During his keynote, CEO Satya Nadella also announced 500 million devices run Windows 10, a key milestone.
Microsoft bets big on Mixed reality
Microsoft is betting big on its vision of mixed reality. At the Build 2017, the company showed off its own set of motion controllers for the upcoming Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Microsoft announced that Acer will start selling a Windows Mixed Reality headset and motion controller bundle for $399 later this year, and developers in the US and Canada will be able to pre-order an Acer or HP headset from the Microsoft store for $299 and $329 respectively. You will of course need a machine ruining Windows 10 Fall Creators Update to use a Windows Mixed Reality headset.
Cortana goes beyond PCs and smartphones
Microsoft continues to bet on Cortana voice-assistant. Which is why Microsoft is opening its AI-based voice assistant to third-party developers. The company launched a Cortana Skills Kit, which basically gave developers the ability to create skills — or even port existing Amazon Alexa skills. The Redmond-based company also revealed Cortana is being used across 141 million monthly active devices. Speaking on smart home speaker, Harman Kardon isn’t the only manufacturer working on its own Cortana-based speaker. HP will bring a voice-activated intelligent speaker that will run Cortana this year.
iTunes is coming to the Windows store
In one of the biggest surprises of the show, iTunes is finally coming to the Windows store by the end of the year. This is a big win for Microsoft. So users need not to visit Apple’s website to download iTunes. All they have to visit the Windows store and download the official iTunes app.