At the first day of the //Build 2014 conference, we saw some very exciting announcements and witnessed some amazing demos. Since the launch of Windows 8 we have been updating and refining the operating system based on your feedback. So today announcements about Windows Phone 8.1 and the Windows 8.1 Update build on that with a lot of new features both for consumers and businesses.
30 Belgians kicked off //Build 2014 in style with an all Belgian dinner in San Fran (see post here). The speculations about what would be announced today were wild and numerous.
So what has been announced today? The overarching message for Windows and Windows Phone is One Windows. For the developer, we want to make it trivial to build apps for both platforms. The user wants to experience truly connected screens across multiple Windows, PC, tablet or phone devices with Universal Apps.
For developers that means a Converged developer platform with:
- Windows Phone shares the majority of APIs with Windows and Apps are using approximately 90% of the same code for phones, tablets and PC.
- Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 has reached the Release Candidate (“RC”) milestone and introduced a key development work stream called Universal Project. Download now !!
- Universal Projects in Visual Studio enable developers to build apps for both platforms simultaneously, sharing even more code than before.
If you want to re-live the entire keynote or fast forward it to “your stuff” you can do that here on Channel9, but this is a summary:
With Windows Phone 8.1, your phone becomes more personal and smarter. The update will start rolling out to existing Windows Phone 8 users in the coming months and pre-installed on new phones. As a registered developer you can event update your phone through the developer preview program. Read the full blog post from Joe Belfiore with all details of what was announced here. This is a summary:
- Customize the Start screen with a third column of tiles and by adding your favorite background.
- Lock screen themes to show you all kinds of visuals and animations.
- Action Center – see notifications from any app, pinned or not, in a single location and a customizable, quick access to the phone settings you like most.
- Word Flow Keyboard – a smart on-screen keyboard that knows you and allows for even faster typing – hey we even broke a world record with it!
- Calendar – redesigned to add a new week view, you have to love it!
- Senses – get the most out of your battery life, storage and data allowance with Data Sense, Wifi Sense, Storage Sense and Battery Saver.
- For businesses, we’ve made it easier to fit Windows Phone seamlessly into a corporate ecosystem with features such as enterprise enrollment, extended MDM, Enterprise Wi-Fi, certificate management, S/MIME and VPN support, and remote device wipe.
- Cortana – your personal digital assistant, powered by Bing, you can use natural language voice input to get stuff done on your phone. Truly amazing! First available in the US as a beta, with other countries to follow afterwards in 2015.
On top of this, Nokia has unveiled two new devices: Lumia 930 and Lumia 630/635.
The Lumia 930 is a new flagship device that integrates the best of Microsoft and Lumia. The device will be available in June.
The Lumia 630 brings great innovation, dual SIM, at an affordable price. This device will be available as of May with Europe as one of the first markets, and will be the first to ship with Windows Phone 8.1 – something to look out for!
The Windows 8.1 Update represents a collection of improvements that give users an even more familiar and convenient experience across touch, keyboard and mouse inputs, while improving access to the things you care most about. We have made the Windows 8.1 Update available today for MSDN subscribers, and will begin to roll it out for free to Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 customers via Windows Update next Tuesday April 8th. For the majority of folks, they will receive the update automatically. If you are still on Windows 8, you can get the Windows 8.1 Update via the Windows Store on April 8th as well.
Read the full blog post from Brandon Leblanc with all details of what was announced here. This is a summary:
- Mouse and keyboard input:
- Whatever the app, familiar close and minimize controls at the top of the screen
- Mouse the mouse to the screen bottom to have access to the taskbar
- Right-click has been extended to the Start screen
- Easier and Faster access to what’s important
- Pin Windows Store apps to the taskbar
- Access the taskbar with the mouse from any screen
- Search, power and PC settings are right at the Start screen
- Know about new apps straight from the Start screen
- Improvements for Business customers
- Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer enables IE8 compatibility on IE11
- Extended MDM
- Look for a blog post later today on the Windows for your Business Blog that discusses these in greater detail
Looking forward to an amazing day 2 at Build 2014! Let us know what you think about these major updates by tweeting with #bldwinbe