What To Expect at Microsoft's Annual Build Developer Conference
Starting Wednesday in San Francisco, Microsoft's annual Build developer conference will likely offer a lot of news about something unveiled at last year's event: the HoloLens augmented reality, holographic computing technology. In fact, the first widely available version of the technology -- the $3,000 Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition -- is set to begin shipping on the day Build 2016 opens.
More than 5,000 attendees are expected to attend this year's conference, being held at the Moscone Center. Despite the $2,195 ticket price -- a $100 increase from last year -- the event sold out even faster than it did in 2015. Tickets were unavailable within a minute after going on sale, according to Microsoft's chief evangelist Steven Guggenheimer.
Other topics set to get a lot of attention at this year's event include Windows 10, which could include new features for Live Tiles and the Cortana smart digital assistant; the Azure cloud platform; and Xbox apps and games. Keynote talks and sessions will be available for viewing via livestreaming online and after-the-fact videos.
Kickoff Reception for Women in Tech
Web developer Michael Gillett, who works on Microsoft projects (though is not employed by the company), has created a "Build Bingo" game board to offer his take on some of the highlights at this year's Build. The board features a variety of randomly generated phrases -- ranging from "HoloLens" and "Surface Pro" to "Hey, Cortana," "Ninja Cat" and "Cloud first, mobile first" -- that are likely to be uttered during the three-day event.
Microsoft also plans to host a women's Build reception the night before the main conference opens, during which women in technology will "share career-inflection moments." The reception will feature a keynote address by TEDx speaker and startup executive Karen Catlin, as well as a panel discussion featuring women from Microsoft, Black Girls Code, the Hackbright Academy and 500 Startups.
Numerous sessions are scheduled for the following three days of the conference. Among the programs on the Build 2016 agenda are "What's New for Tiles and Toast Notifications," and "Something Awesome This Way Comes," as well as a number of sessions about ASP.NET, the Universal Windows Platform and Visual Studio.
Day One CEO Keynote a 'Must Watch'
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley said she expects to see several "hot-button" topics during this year's Build, including Microsoft's ever-growing emphasis on a cloud-based service model, new developments for Internet of Things devices and HoloLens-enabled communication capabilities via "Holoportation."
According to Windows Central, Build 2016's "must-watch" event will be CEO Satya Nadella's keynote address, scheduled for day one of the conference. However, Build is not likely to produce any major announcements about new hardware, as Microsoft is reportedly readying its "next wave of Windows 10 devices for early 2017 putting them on an 18-month cycle instead of a 12-month one," Windows Central noted.
"[W]e're not expecting huge news this year," The Verge agreed. In addition to putting a focus on future plans for the HoloLens, this year's Build will also likely look at new changes coming to Cortana, improvements in the Azure cloud platform and how Microsoft will approach mobile in light of its Windows Phones ever-shrinking market share.
Image Credit: Logos and images via Microsoft.
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