From Windows to AI, here’s everything Microsoft Announced at Build 2016

microsoft build 2016 news version 1459303797 build2015 satya nadella final print
From Windows 10 updates to plans for artificial intelligence, Microsoft’s Build 2016 Keynote had a little bit of everything. There were demonstrations of new features coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One; details of new tools coming for developers; and more than a few grand declaration of our AI-enhanced future. If you happened to miss the live stream of the conference, we have you covered. Below is a round up of all the biggest news from the keynote, and links to our coverage.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Xbox Windows UWP

A year out since its initial launch, Windows 10 is about to get a big update. The first half of this year’s Build keynote was focused on the upcoming update and the numerous features and changes coming to the OS. Windows 10 biometric authentication is expanding to websites and apps. During the keynote, presenter Bryan Roper demonstrated logging in to the USAA Insurance website in the Edge browser using his finger print.

Roper also spent a considerable chunk of his presentation to show off the new pen and ink integration in Windows 10 apps. Roper explained that “72 percent of all users still use pen and paper daily,” and Microsoft wants to emulate that use through various apps including Word, Power Point, Sticky Notes, and Maps. The update will roll out this summer, while Windows Insiders will have access to it soon.

Read more

New and upgraded tools for developers

microsoft build 2016 news app developers 0001

It wouldn’t be a Build keynote without some discussion on code. This is a developer conference, after all. Kevin Gallo took the stage to discuss a number of innovations developers will have access to in the Windows 10 Anniversary update, including visual studio update 2, and an anniversary SDK with new bells and whistles. Other notable inclusions with the Windows 10 update is Bash Shell, and a desktop app converter for Win32 and .Net apps, making it easier for developers to put their apps on the Windows App Store.

Read more

Bridging Xbox and Windows gaming

microsoft build 2016 news gamep developers 0001

Phil Spencer, CEO for Xbox, gave a detailed presentation on how Microsoft is melding the two branches of their gaming division: Xbox One and Windows. All first-party Microsoft games can now release simultaneously on both Xbox One and Windows 10, provided the developers choose to, thanks to easy conversion tools and a unified App store coming with Windows 10 Anniversary update. DirectX 12 features, such as enhanced GPU efficiency, were also detailed. Spencer assured PC gamers that Windows App Store games will include support for mods and overlays, as well as G-Sync and Free sync, and showed off Windows 10 integration with Steam and Steam Workshop coming in the Anniversary Update. The new Windows App Store will also be a single unified store across all devices, including PC, mobile, and Xbox One.

Finally, Spencer announced that the Xbox One dev kit mode — a feature that was first announced with the Xbox One’s initial reveal — will now be available to all Xbox One owners. A demo showed off how quick and seamless it will be to transition from Dev mode and back on the console.

Read more

Hololens ships to developers

Microsoft-HoloLens-dev-kit_002

The first HoloLens, Microsoft’s augmented reality headset, is shipping to enterprise partners and developers right now. In order to give these developers a tutorial into creating for the HoloLens, Microsoft is releasing the source code for its Galaxy Explorer app, which allows users to wander and explore the cosmos just by walking around the room. Microsoft showed off how NASA is using the headset to give engineers better control over spacecraft modelling, and even explore the landscape of Mars. Similarly, an on-stage presentation showed how augmented reality through the HoloLens can give medical students better visual and hands-on learning experiences by displaying 3D models for them to view and analyze.

Read more

Cortana, Skype, and artificial intelligence

cortana-skype

The second half of the keynote focused on Microsoft’s vision for artificial intelligence. Sataya Nadella once again took the stage, discussing broad concepts about man would work with machine, not against it, and artificial intelligence that combined the compassion of the human mind with the speed and proficiency of computing. Cortana, remote presence via Hololens, social bots, and Skype translate were listed as various examples of how Microsoft is making that vision a reality.

Cortana was the main example for many of these presentations. Marcus Ash showed off Cortana’s integration with various Windows 10 apps, such as Outlook, and how well she could understand commands. Similarly, Lilian Rincon gave a demo of how Skype will interact with Cortana, and how the pair enables users to do things such as order food and manage travel plans.

Read more

AI developer tools

BUILD-2016-Blind-App-0001

Microsoft closed out its Build keynote by announcing several tools available for developers, including the Skype bot SDK, Cortana Intelligence Suite bot framework, and 22 artificial intelligence APIs. These APIs utilize years of machine learning for developers to take advantage of. The keynote concluded with a video on Saqib Shaikh, a blind software engineer who created his own bot to aid visually-impaired users identify their surroundings and interact with others, as an example of the kind of creations Microsoft’s AI tools enable.

Gaming

E3 2019: Microsoft’s hasty, brave Project xCloud demo can’t handle the pressure

Microsoft brought Project xCloud, its cloud gaming service, to E3 2019. I played Halo 5 and Hellblade: Senua's Sacrafice on a smartphone powered by an xCloud server hundreds of miles away. It worked, but it wasn't magic.
Home Theater

Got a long plane ride? Here's how to download movies from Netflix

If you want to watch your favorite Netflix films and TV shows but don't have a data connection, you need to download them to view offline. Here, we show you how to download movies and TV series from Netflix in iOS, Android, or Windows 10.
Computing

AMD's latest RX 5000 Navi graphics cards are incoming. Here's what to expect

AMD unveiled its first three Radeon RX 5000 GPUs: The RX 5700, Rx 5700 XT, and RX 5700 XT 50th Anniversary Edition. Starting at $379, these GPUs are designed on AMD's new Navi architecture to take on Nvidia's RTX 2070 graphics.
Gaming

Halo Infinite and Project Scarlett dominate the Xbox E3 2019 conference

Microsoft held its annual E3 press conference on June 9. The Xbox E3 2019 press conference featured more news on Project Scarlett and Project xCloud, as well as plenty of game announcements.
Deals

Amazon cuts prices on Microsoft Surface Pro 6 and Surface Go

The Microsoft Surface series is an excellent alternative to other tablets if you're a dedicated Windows user, and the superb Surface Pro 6 (our favorite 2-in-1) and its cheaper sibling, the Surface Go, are both on sale right now.
Deals

Amazon sale drops deals on Microsoft Surface laptops

Despite an increasingly crowded market, the sleek Microsoft Surface laptops have left their mark. Both the Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 and Surface Book 2 are discounted on Amazon right now, too, with deals that can save you up to $300.
Computing

AMD’s Ryzen one-two punch will end with a 64-core Threadripper in 2019

AMD's Threadripper may be set to deliver the killing blow to Intel in Q4 2019, with a rumor suggesting a new Zen 2-based Threadripper line is coming down the pipe with a top chip that has as many as 64 cores.
Computing

If you need your laptop to be large, these ones are most in charge

Whether you're in the market for a mobile workstation or a gaming behemoth, there's probably something in the 15-inch form factor that can fit the bill. Here, we've rounded up the best 15-inch laptops available.
Computing

Need more pixels? These 4K laptops have the eye-popping visuals you crave

If you're looking for the best 4K laptops, you need to find one that has powerful internal hardware, and doesn't scrimp on weight and battery life. All of these 4K notebooks are great options, but which one is the right one for you?
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.
Computing

HP's Spectre x360 is a better 2-in-1 than Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 is a clamshell

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 is a refresh of Microsoft's clamshell option, an oddity given Microsoft's creation of the modern 2-in-1. The HP Spectre x360 13 is, therefore, an interesting comparison.
Deals

Amazon deal drops prices on Asus VivoBook laptops and 2-in-1s

Asus is one of the premier PC brands cranking out Windows ultrabooks today with its sleek VivoBook series, and these Amazon deals let you score one for $700 or less. Read on to find out what we love about these laptops and how you can save.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and what you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a month away, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Computing

Air, Pro, or just a MacBook? Here's our guide to finding the right Apple laptop

Apple's lineup of MacBooks has started to swell, leaving fans a bit confused about which laptop they should buy. Depending on what you're looking for, we'll point you in the right direction.