Microsoft is hosting its huge annual developer conference in San Francisco this week and we’ll be covering it live.
CEO Satya Nadella will kick off the conference with a keynote in which he’s expected to make a whole bunch of announcements.
Here’s what we expect to hear more about:
Windows 10, Windows 10, Windows 10! We expect Microsoft to give us an official release date. Earlier this month, the date was leaked as “summer,” particularly July. That makes sense for Microsoft to catch the back-to-school PC buying season.
“Universal” Office Apps: We’ll also see and hear about all kinds of features that Microsoft thinks you’ll love including the new touch-friendly Office apps for Windows. Microsoft has redesigned these apps to work better on touch devices of all sizes, from smartphones to its big wall display PC, called the Surface Hub.
Project Spartan: Microsoft’s newest browser.
Cortana on Windows 10: We expect Microsoft to show this off because Nadella has said that this is the No. 1 thing that will get everyone to want to try Windows 10.
Productivity apps: All sorts of new ways to automate what you do at work.
Windows Azure: Microsoft will show off all sorts of new ways for developers to use Microsoft’s app hosting platform. It will also reveal select stats on how big Azure has grown.
“Windows as a Service”: Microsoft may discuss all kinds of new business models for delivering Windows, from perpetual freebie versions that lock you into using Bing (something it already offers today), to subscription Windows that includes fancy extra features. We’ll see. Right now, Microsoft just needs everyone to want Windows 10. It doesn’t want to scare anyone off with talk of fees.
Wearables, especially HoloLens: Microsoft will want to build excitement among developers for its cool new virtual reality headset.
Internet of Things and versions of Windows for the “maker” set: We expect to hear talk of a free version of Windows for very small devices and sensors for the “maker” set as well as talk of versions for the enterprise and other commercial uses.
Tablets, phones, devices: We don’t expect Microsoft to announce another new PC or tablet (but it might surprise us!), since it has already announced the Surface Pro 3 and its new low-cost tablet, the Surface 3. The company is likely to show off a new flagship Lumia phone designed to run Windows 10, and it could have some gee-wiz features like letting you sign in with face recognition.
Xbox One: We’ll likely hear more about how Xbox One will run Windows 10 apps and, possibly, how Xbox One games will work with HoloLense.
Office 365 and Bing “as a platform” for cool new productivity apps. Microsoft wants developers to build apps that tap into its two huge cloud services, its search engine/mapping engine from Bing and its online version of Office. The more apps, the more people will use Bing, the more share Bing will take from Google and the more money it will make. Ditto for encouraging people and companies to sign up for the subscription versions of Office.
Lots of developer tools. This is a conference for programmers after all. One new thing that ZDNet’s Mary Joe Foley says is coming is something code-named “Airspace.” This could be a tool that lets programmers easily create apps for all versions of Windows at once (PCs/tablets/phones/Xbox).
Getting developers who have focused on Windows PCs or non-Microsoft mobile platforms to bring their apps to Windows Phone is a huge thing for Microsoft.
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