Facebook concluded its annual developer conference, F8 in California last week. Now, it is the turn of two other tech giants, Microsoft and Google, to host their own developer conferences. Interestingly, Microsoft and Google’s developer conferences are happening a day apart, leaving developers building for the platform of both the companies, in the split.
Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build 2018, starts today at its home turf of Seattle. This is for the second straight year that Microsoft is not hosting its developer conference in Silicon Valley. This shows how Silicon Valley is no longer the action center for developer activity. The event is scheduled to start at 8.30AM PT (or 9:00PM IST) on May 7, 2018. The event will kickstart with a keynote from CEO Satya Nadella, who will lay down his vision for the company and how it aims to empower “every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
With PC sales declining every quarter and Microsoft having exited the mobile business altogether, the Build conference has become a go-to place for nerd talks and coding. It is among the few developer conferences where executives take to stage and show live demos with codes. However, if the past few build conference are any kind of an indicator then we can see Nadella bringing out software engineers who are building experiences beyond its own platform.
Microsoft is planning keynote on May 7 as well as May 8 and it comes as the first big event since it announced a major reorganization in March. The keynote will be streamed live on Build microsite (https://news.microsoft.com/build2018/), which requires registration. Here is what we expect to see from Microsoft at Build 2018:
Artificial Intelligence was the secret sauce of every developer conference last year and this year, it will be one big story. At Build 2018, Microsoft will detail how it using AI and machine learning to solve mission-critical problems and how the technology is being baked into core Microsoft products including Windows, Office 365 and Dynamics.
Microsoft’s AI and machine learning technologies including speech recognition are already used by major brands like McDonald’s and it recently announced that its chatbot, Xiaoice in China, has learned how to interact like a natural speaker instead of a voice-assisted computer. AI is also at the core of Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana and Translator app.
Windows 10 and evolution of Timeline
Microsoft announced Windows 10 April update with Timeline feature just a few weeks back. The update bring timeline to desktop which uses Microsoft Graph to follow the activity of Windows users and let them resume work even from several weeks ago. The feature is another attempt from Microsoft to unify computing experience on Windows. Apart from Timeline and Microsoft Graph, the Redmond-based software major might also shed some more light on the recently spotted Windows 10 Lean operating system.
Most developers will be looking at Microsoft’s work around Windows Sets, a feature that groups apps, data and sites in tabs and has been available in the form of beta since last year. It is expected to release to the general public in the forthcoming release. There could also be an announcement around the expansion of Fluent Design Interface across Windows and support from third-party developers.
Windows Mixed Reality
It would to be too early to call virtual reality as a failure but it has definitely failed to catch the imagination of consumers. However, technology companies, mainly Facebook and Microsoft, are not giving up on VR just yet. At F8 last week, Facebook announced that its Oculus Go standalone headset is now shipping to consumers.
At Build 2018, Microsoft might announce new mixed reality devices from its OEM partners at around $200 price tag. The big question is whether consumers and developers alike want to give Mixed Reality a shot.
Azure and Coding
For Microsoft, the cloud computing and its Azure Cloud is becoming the next big cash cow. It is slowly closing in on the gap with Amazon Web Services and at Build 2018, we are likely to see new support for developer ecosystems built on top of Azure Cloud. There could also be new developments around Microsoft 365 and Visual Studio IDE.
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What about Quantum Computing?
Last year, Microsoft stunned the world by publicly explaining its efforts in the quantum computing space. It is the next big frontier for technology companies and Microsoft might use Build 2018 to detail updates in the space.