Starting tomorrow, 9am PT / 12pm ET / 4pm GST, Microsoft is kicking off their annual Build conference for developers. Once again, the three-day event is taking place in beautiful San Francisco, California and this year looks to be its biggest yet.
Traditionally, Build has always been for and about developers of Microsoft's various platforms, from Windows, to Azure, to Windows Phone, and Xbox. This year Microsoft looks to expand that to HoloLens and the Internet of Things (IoT) as well.
However, the consumer story is always in the background. Sure, on occasion Microsoft gets on stage and announces "new" devices like the Lumia 930, the Lumia 1520 in green, and the Lumia 635. However, more often than not, the software is the focus and not new hardware. Case in point, Microsoft pre-announced the Surface 3 weeks ago instead of waiting for Build.
As Mark Guim and I prep to fly out tonight to San Fran, let's break it down what we should hear over the next few days.
What we do NOT expect
As always, expectations are super high for Build, but usually things come in a little lower than what people want. So let's mention a few things we do not expect to hear about:
- New flagship Lumias – Microsoft will very likely at least reference that this device (or devices) are being worked on and are coming "later this year". They may even hint at some details. However, we do not expect a big on stage reveal of any new hardware. Not yet, as it is just too early.
- Surface Pro 4 – Sure, we just ran a story about some possible specs of this tablet/hybrid, but I do not expect anything until later this year, possible near the holiday season. Releasing it too early muddles the Surface 3 message by the sheer fact its model number ("3") is lower than a Surface Pro 4.
- Microsoft Band 2 – People can barely buy the first Microsoft Band right now worldwide, so it would be premature to release a new version so early in the product's lifespan. Microsoft appears to be still feeling this one out, both in terms of customer demand and selling a device with robust and refined capabilities. Still, the Band itself should get attention during this event and even some new news about Microsoft Health.
The takeaway for Build is this – Microsoft typically does not squish in big new product launches during a developer conference. Instead, they would rather hold a single, focused press event for new hardware. Then they could invite the right journalists, and have a large, controlled and concentrated event. Doing anything less and risk overshadowing your own products by having too many announcements.
What we DO expect
- Windows 10 – File this under 'duh', but Microsoft is going to dive deep into Windows 10. This includes more on Project Spartan (how about that official name?), Windows 10 for Phone, Cortana, Continuum, and new, previously unannounced features. Release dates would also be an excellent thing. How about Windows app development on OS X and Linux? A new cross-platform Visual Studio may do the trick.
- Windows Redstone – Redstone is the internal name for the next Windows 10 milestone. Microsoft has been very forthcoming about plans for Windows, and we expect more details about their Windows roadmap post-Windows 10. New features, UI goals, and more are all likely candidates. That's right folks when Windows 10 launches, it is but a drop in a bucket of what Redmond has planned.
- HoloLens and Microsoft Band – Not much news has come out since January on Microsoft's new augmented reality headwear dubbed HoloLens. Developer SDK, release information, and demos are all expected to get some love at Build. As far as Microsoft Band, we expect some new feature announcements and details on the expansion of Microsoft Health.
- Android apps on Windows/Windows Phone? – The project to run Android apps on Windows and Windows Phone 10 has been known for months now. Last we heard, legal concerns were holding it up, not technical. Will Microsoft finally pull the covers off of this project and throw the switch? Maybe.
- Xbox One apps – Tying into the Windows 10 story, more details about Xbox One and Store apps may be on the table, including developer news and timing. We do not expect too much in the way of gaming specific news because E3 takes place just a few weeks from now in June.
Of course, we are not even touching upon Azure, cloud computing, IoT, Office 365 APIs, Windows Hello, SharePoint, Design UX, and more developer focused announcements. Make not mistakes, those will happen too.
Where to watch, how to follow
Finally, after you take all of that in you may want to know what to do next. So here are a few bits.
- Build 2015 Landing Page – This has all of our news coverage for the week and what we know so far in one place www.windowscentral.com/build-2015
- Keynote 1 – April 29 9am PT / 12pm ET / 4pm GST. This keynote will be the BIG big talk, featuring Satya Nadella, Joe Belfiore, Terry Myerson and more. This event will be live streamed on Microsoft's website (buildwindows.com). Windows Central will also have a live blog and the video embed with a chat room for you folks to discuss the event. More info on that is coming up in a post later today.
- Keynote 2 – April 30, 9am PT, 12pm ET This keynote focuses more on developer news and cloud computing. As such, for consumers it is a little less interesting.
- Sessions, sessions, sessions! – The rest of Build consists of developer sessions for three days, which we will be attending. Expect small news reports to pop throughout the day on these events.
- Windows 10 Breakout Sessions – This is an invite only press meeting with some key members of the Windows leadership team. Expect our notes after that event as it should be revealing.
- Grab the Event app – If you are attending or want to see the sessions, grab the free Build Events app for Windows Phone, iOS, or Android
You can also follow Mark Guim and I on Twitter and Instagram:
- Daniel Rubino: @Daniel_Rubino, Instagram.com/Daniel_Rubino
- Mark Guim: @MarkGuim, Instagram.com/MarkGuim
Sound off in comments what you expect to happen this week!