Build 2017: What to look out for at Microsoft's developer event this year

Like every other one in the past, we are expecting Microsoft to showcase some hardware along with the usual software updates and innovations at Build 2017.

Microsoft's yearly developer event is just a few days away. Set to take place from 10 May to 12 May this year, the registrations for the same are all sold out and this year, like every other one in the past, we are expecting Microsoft to showcase some hardware along with the usual software updates and innovations.

The Keynote sessions will be streamed live. So be sure to join us on our live blog to get all the latest updates on the 10 May at 8:30PM IST onwards.

As always there will be some surprises, and plenty of software to talk about.

So let's begin with the odd one out -- hardware.

Google Home-like Cortana speaker

No, not exactly. Microsoft at this year's build is expected to demo the earlier announced Cortana Skills Set. While the SDK was announced some time back, the same has not been made available to developers just yet. So we could expect Microsoft to take a deep dive and demo the just announced Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker, which is similar to what we have with Amazon's Echo and Google Home.

Cortana Skills Set is an SDK that will allow devs to build Cortana-enabled devices, or basically give them an AI that is powered by Microsoft. This would also allow Cortana's skills of voice-based features to be enabled into more apps.

A new design language and Redstone 3

Project Neon, Microsoft's new design language is expected to be showcased at this year's build. Set to arrive with Redstone 3, the update is said to drastically improve the look and feel of Windows 10' rather dull and boring UI. Project Neon is said to accomplish this by adding translucency delivering some visual depth.

Expect Microsoft to coax developers with this one. While Metro depended on typography, Neon is supposed to uplift Microsoft's flattened UI and add a sense of depth, one that should be very useful when it comes to its augmented reality (AR) interfaces.

In addition to the above, also expect Microsoft to demo CShell, which should make it easier to scale Windows 10 across device categories, between mobile, laptops, Xbox, HoloLens and more. They will however end up looking similar across systems, which is a good thing.

Bots, Bots, Bots

While Microsoft went big on bots last year, this year may see a few announcements related to how these are doing and may be a few upgrades to the current ones.

Last year, Microsoft demoed a number of them, including the CaptionBot which described images uploaded (using machine learning), the CRIS bot that let users translate audio into text and even Domino's Pizza bot which made use of natural language processing.

Windows 10 Mobile

Build 2017: What to look out for at Microsofts developer event this year

Is it dead yet? Well, we should expect Microsoft to showcase some minor updates. If it does not, well, you will have your answer.

After the recent Microsoft Q3 FY 2017 earnings announcement, many watchers expected Windows 10 Mobile to be shut down entirely. With little or no revenue from Windows Mobile, we are expecting Microsoft to not announce anything at all.

Universal Windows Platform

And this is where the Universal Windows Platform comes in. You see the UWP lets developers develop one app that works across platforms. This would include UWP apps that will run on PCs, tablets, the Xbox and even HoloLens. Many would be interested in knowing where Microsoft is headed with UWP if Mobile gets the boot this year. UWP applies not just to apps but games as well.


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