2016 Microsoft Buids, Here is What to Wxpect

The three-day event is around the corner, here is what we believe Microsoft will introduce this year, which might not only interest developers but also users

Microsoft's Build conference is just a few days away. The Windows maker will introduce its latest offerings in software and development tools for its products and services. Microsoft's Build 2016 will be held in San Francisco, from Wednesday. Enthusiasts can easily follow the event from Microsoft's official site.

by Elanora Brown
by Elanora Brown

While the event is largely focused upon educating and assisting developers with Microsoft's products and services, tech enthusiasts alike will also get an update on what Microsoft has in the pipeline this year. The major themes of the three-day event are mainly Azure, Windows, or other projects such as Islandwood and Astoria, which were introduced last year. Windows 10 Mobile and HoloLens will also be a major proponent of what is yet to come.

While there's no official details on what will be shown, here is our take on what to expect from the event.

Enter The Cloud Wars: Azure

Cloud Computing is undoubtedly the future and all the tech giants have their focus upon making their iteration of the service better. Platforms such as Amazon's Web Services and Google's Cloud Platform are fighting neck to neck for major tech industry clients. Microsoft's Azure already has a decent portfolio of clients in the market, but constant updates and performance improvements will help it gain an edge over competition. It's pertinent that these cloud services update as per the industry needs, failure to keep up will lead in loss of clients and market share.

The platform offers services such as analytics, computing, networking, integrated tools, and much more. These services professionals and developers around the world. However, to gain a competitive edge Microsoft would have to step up its game as major rivals are already ramping up cloud computing efforts.

These improvements might mostly be related how developers can take advantage of Azure and make the whole process less cumbersome, more cheaply as well efficient.

Windows 10

The latest version of Microsoft’s operating system has proved to be better than its predecessors. It has a better interface, added features, and a lot more that previous iterations failed to offer. While users are slowly making the shift to the new operating system, an update to the OS will offer a better incentive to the update. Moreover, Microsoft stands by its promise of “Windows as a Service” by rolling out continuous improvements for Windows 10 almost since its launch.

Rumors have pointed to some remarkable improvements that Microsoft has up its sleeve. While these will most likely will be unwrapped at Build 2016, Microsoft executives have been teasing attendees and fans with tweets of “something awesome” yet to come.

On the other hand, one feature that we know is being overhauled is that of Live Tiles. Microsoft is aiming to better the Live Tiles features on the OS. As per Microsoft, notifications are an important aspect of the user interface (UI) and Live Tiles will be revamped to serve that purpose. Currently, Live Tiles are still unused by a lot of users as the feature isn't developed enough. However, Microsoft teased that “two highly requested surprises” will be made available at the conference.

Aside from improvements to the Windows 10 OS, features that may be discussed are Cortana and Edge, Microsoft's replacement for Internet Explorer. Microsoft Edge also recently got the ability to install extensions, which shows the company is serious about the product. Additionally, as per Windows Central, Cortana may receive some updates which will make the digital personal assistant more contextually aware. Moreover, the AI may be updated to support a multitude of tasks, similar to that of Google Now.

Where is Windows 10 Mobile Headed?

Microsoft tried its luck in the smartphone market once again last year. The launch of the two powerful new Lumia smartphones gave hope to the company in the phone market. Microsoft holds close to only 1% of a saturating smartphone market, which doesn't help its case. There is a major gap that needs to be filled and developers are not flocking to the OS, as much as the company hoped. When developers don't appreciate a platform enough, then there's no doubt about the shortage of apps that's going to follow. Such was the case with BlackBerry when Apple's app store offerings increased due to the potential of the OS.

Microsoft has tried time and again to make developers accept the idea of a Universal Windows Platform. However, development project such as Project Islandwood, Astoria, and others have failed to grab traction. Hopefully, the Build conference will see the company offering something new that will convince developers to jump on board. What we hope to see is how developers can port their iOS and Android apps to Windows, but in a market where Apple and Google dominate the market, users may not switch that easily.

We hope that Microsoft has something more interesting up its sleeve, else we may just see the death of Microsoft's mobile division.

HoloLens and the Future of Augmented Reality

Developers are already playing around with Microsoft HoloLens. The $3000 kit is helping programmers make new apps and games revolving around the new technology. The world of augmented and virtual reality is surely taking off and Microsoft jumped in at the right time. The practical applications for a headset such as HoloLens are immense. So much so that Microsoft sent one to space if it could assist astronauts in day to day operations. The Build conference could see Microsoft releasing some sought out news for the headset. Moreover, the integration of the HoloLens with the Xbox One will also mean for a more immersive gaming experience in future.

While this may not be the same as virtual reality, augmented reality will let you immerse in games that make use of the surroundings. The headset will also be of use in fields such a medicine, space, engineering, and farming.

Gaming

In terms of gaming, Microsoft is always up to something. Under Satya Nadella's leadership, Microsoft has become more of a sharing company. The recent activation of backward compatibility of Xbox games will help reel in an existing user-base. On the other hand, Microsoft has also made it possible for users to play games cross-platform. This means that a gamer on the Xbox can play with someone using a PlayStation 4. While Sony is still yet to include this feature as well, it's only limited to a few games for now.

There may be some new game announcements. However, we believe that any updates on gaming will be related more towards the HoloLens as it's a new product that the company wants to show off. In any case, any updates will be appreciated. While there's no hint of any new gadgets showing up, there could be something in the bag for the existing ones.