[tl;dr] Microsoft BUILD 2013 keynote: more refined “Windows, Windows Windows”

If you missed what happened earlier today at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, here’s a quick overview of everything Microsoft revealed (or revealed again) at the first keynote of BUILD 2013.

Steve Ballmer

  • Microsoft is on a more rapid development and release cycle
  • This BUILD conference is much sooner than previous developer conferences – 8 months since the last one
  • Windows 8.1 preview is available today to download, lays new groundwork for developers to do great work
  • Small ~8” Windows tablets are a very important form factor
  • New workhorse 2-in-1 tablets that are both powerful docked, lightweight undocked
  • All attendees get a free Acer Iconia 8.1” tablet and a Surface Pro to take home
  • One innovative (user) experience for devices for everyone from work to play
  • “Windows Windows Windows”. “The future of Windows is very bright”

Windows 8.1

  • Refines the Windows 8 vision, response to latest industry trends
  • Continuous improvements, over 800 updates to Windows 8 since release
  • New Windows 8 apps coming soon: Flipboard, Facebook, NFL
  • Telemetrics indicate over 2.3 million apps used on Windows, including desktop apps
  • Windows 8.1 “refines the blend” between desktop and modern experience
  • Start menu is more optimized for portrait mode
  • New on-screen-keyboard gestures allows swiping left-right on spacebar for suggestion selection, swiping up on keys for symbols
  • Updates to all inbox apps or new apps
    • Major improvements to Mail app with power-pane sidebar, filter emails by social, newsletters, favorite people
    • Redesigned Xbox Music app UI with share-to support that automatically finds songs from webpage and creates playlist
  • Search pane, with Bing integration – the modern command line
  • Smart search results integrate weather, maps, photos, travel, music – “not just a list of links but things you can do”
  • Live lockscreen slideshow and ability to answer Skype calls and take photos from lockscreen
  • More personalization options through wallpaper and colors
  • Drag-up gesture to access all applications from Start screen
  • Native SkyDrive file storage integration
  • Simple picture editing built-in
  • Improvements to desktop: Start button, boot to desktop, Start tiles float on desktop, default to tiles or all apps
  • Flexible app snapping sizes, automatically snaps two apps side-by-side from opening links
  • Multi-monitor multiple DPI scaling for connecting low-res displays with high-res displays: supported by all desktop and modern apps natively

Developer improvements

  • Existing apps are all supported by 8.1 and will run better
  • Over 5000 new APIs in Windows 8.1
  • Visual Studio 2013 developer preview available today
    • New powerful performance and power usage analysis tools built into VS2013
    • New support for debugging asynchronous processes
    • Simplified wizard for integrating Windows push notifications
  • Added hardware-accelerated support for MPEG DASH and WebGL in Windows 8.1 browser and native apps
  • Windows 8.1 WebView control can now be composited/overlaid with other controls
  • Windows Store improvements to make it easier find and buy apps
    • Personalised Store app picks powered by Bing recommendation engine with apps installed, ratings and similar people
    • Related apps, apps by developer for cross-merchandise opportunities
    • Automatic app updates for all Windows Store apps
  • New DirectX tiled resources support
    • Developed in collaboration with AMD and NVIDIA
    • Allows high-resolution textures to be dynamically loaded for a resource-limited graphics card
    • Only available in Windows 8.1 and Xbox One
  • Native 3D printer, driver and app printing support
  • Support for Lego Education robot

Bing platform

  • Bing now has 17.4% of US search engine market share
  • Powering Facebook, Yahoo and Apple Siri
  • Launching Bing as a platform for all developers
    • Giving the same capabilities as first party apps
    • New mapping control with 3D mapping/flyover capability
    • Text-to-speech and speech-to-text processing by Bing
    • Camera scanning API for text OCR
    • Providing apps eyes, ears and mouths

See all the photos from the keynote on my Flickr or embedded below

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