From tomorrow, Wednesday 30th March until Friday 1st April, Microsoft is holding its annual Build conference in San Francisco for developers. The 3 day event focusses on the reveal of upcoming changes to Windows, Azure and Microsoft's development platforms.
Here is a quick breakdown of the overall agenda...
The opening day starts with a long keynote with various Microsoft execs, guests, and of course, Mr. Charisma himself, Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella. During the day guests will learn about what is coming next in Windows 10 for desktop, mobile, Windows 10 Xbox, HoloLens, and the Internet of Things (IoT).
The second day focusses more on Azure and cloud computing. For the non-developers this can be less exciting but the reveals of this day are often at the heart of Microsoft's core business for enterprise, servers and the whole 'cloud first' piece.
This is when things start to slow down, the day is filled with developer breakout sessions that end in the afternoon as people start to head home.
So, that is what the conference looks like day to day. Here are some key topics that are predicted to feature at Build this year...
Anybody following the conference will be privy to Microsoft's long-term plans for Windows, Azure and all its other major software services. Expect broad forecasts into where the company is heading in 2016 and beyond...
There will no doubt be an announcement of the news that Windows 10 is now past the 200 million install mark. We can also expect reports on new app adoptions, store metrics, payouts, and the increasing success of Azure.
Exactly what it says on the tin. More information on the latest PCs, phones, and devices that run Windows 10.
Windows 10 Redstone
New features, timeline, and API's for developers including demonstrations of new features like SMS messaging on the desktop.
Microsoft has already teased the market with two new Live Tile features as well as 'something awesome.' How suspicious I hear you say! I know, but we are just going to have to wait and see just how awesome this thing is...In the words of Sergeant Schultz, "I know nothing."
New UWP apps
More about the new universal Skype and OneDrive apps. Also, a priority for us Coffee addicts is the new Starbucks app for Windows Phone, which is planned to be demonstrated.
Watch out for all of the latest features of Microsoft's Edge browser.
Update on bridges
News update on Project Centennial, which allows developers to port their classic Win32 apps to the Windows 10 store, including games. And hopefully, an update on project Islandwood, which allows you to port iOS apps. Some people are also expecting a progress report in getting that Bridge up to date with iOS 9.x
Here comes HoloLens
I don't know about anybody else but this product blows my mind! The modern phenomenon is now shipping to developers in order to progress development of holographic computing platforms. Expect progress updates, demos, and maybe more partnership announcements.
Cortana gets cooler
Word on the grapevine is that Cortana Automation is coming at Build. The automation will allow developers to trigger events based on conditions such as time, calendar appointments, geolocation, and anything else that Cortana can track.
Cortana will detect a condition or context to trigger the assistant, which will prompt the user to navigate into an app. Further down the line, Cortana will be able to take actions on behalf of the user without interaction, as an example, she will be able to automatically text somebody for you when you leave a location. The new feature is predicted to be agnostic so that Android and iOS users can benefit as well.
With the year that Microsoft has had, it is no surprise that this year's Build is set to be jam-packed full of news and updates, oh and not to forget, 'Something Awesome.'
To keep up with all the highlights from this year's conference, you can sign up to the event mailing list here.
And for those of you, who like me, follow the latest news of Microsoft throughout the year but struggle to understand some of the much loved 'Jargon', here is a little feature that I am going to Call 'Acronym Corner' to clarify what some of Microsoft's favourite acronyms actually mean...
So, welcome one and all to Acronym Corner!
UWP = Universal Windows Platform
SDK = Software Developer Kit
IoT = The Internet of Things
Feel free to share your opinions on #Build2016 via our Twitter feed @acs365.