In recent times, Microsoft has started garnering a lot of attention with its yearly Build developers conference and this year was no different. The event that has started on May 7th is taking place in Washington State Convention Center, Seattle and is currently ongoing as we still have one more day of keynote speeches. In case you're curious to find out the latest news, here are the biggest things that were announced so far at the Microsoft Build 2018 conference.
Your Phone and Timeline apps
Probably the most exciting announcements for the regular users were the news about two apps: Your Phone and Timeline. Your Phone provides better interactions between your computer and your mobile device by allowing both iOS and Android smartphones to sync with Windows 10. Basically, you'll be able to receive notifications, read and send texts or answer phone calls directly from your PC. The app will go into beta in the following days and the company expects to release an official version by the fall of this year. Unfortunately, there's a pretty big string attached: you can only use this app along with the Edge browser, which will probably be a deal breaker for a lot of people (myself included).
As far as the recently launched Timeline app is concerned, Microsoft's representatives have stated that it will gain a very handy feature which will allow it to also display your mobile device's timeline. This function will let you view your history and jump to any previous point in apps that you're using on your smartphone or tablet as well as on your Windows 10 PC. On iOS, this will work as an Edge tab and on Android, it will be included in the Microsoft Launcher app.
If you're into Augmented Reality devices, you'll probably be happy to know that Microsoft has also announced two new applications for HoloLens, which will arrive as previews on May 22nd:
- Microsoft Layout - will provide developers with all the tools necessary to design and build mixed reality spaces that can be viewed with the HoloLens headset.
- Microsoft Remote Assist - will enhance the collaboration between customers and first-line workers by offering handsfree video calling, video sharing as well as live annotations in mixed reality.
Even though pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, one of the things that really caught my eye was a new concept for Windows 10 users, which will allow them to group multiple applications as tabs within a single window (set). This is a feature that many users were wishing for and will surely come in very handy once we get accustomed to it but will also come with a small drawback: Microsoft will also have to rethink how the Alt + Tab keyboard shortcut works: if it will switch between tabs or between windows.
Cortana and Alexa
The digital assistant's markets are currently very competitive, so I was a bit surprised when the IT giant announced that Cortana will soon become friends with Alexa. Thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and Amazon, in a future not too far away, you will be able to call upon Cortana using an Amazon Echo device or reach Alexa from a Windows 10 PC. At the moment, this feature is in a limited beta stage and no official launch date has been given yet.
More money for developers
Lastly, Microsoft has decided to do everything in its power to attract more developers and since money usually is the best incentive, the company has announced that it will decrease its share from the applications published on the Microsoft Store. Up until now, every major application store (Apple's App Store, Microsoft Store, and Google Play Store) took 30% percent of the money brought in by every app that they hosted. However, from now on, in certain conditions, Microsoft will only take 5% of the profits, leaving the developers with a significantly larger 95% share of the incomes.
Of course, there were other interesting news such as the ones regarding Microsoft Azure or the fact that Kinect is still alive in the cloud and there is still one more day of keynote speeches left, so we could still get more fascinating announcements, but so far, these are the biggest things presented at the Microsoft Build 2018 event. Hopefully, we will also get a bit more information about the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.