Build 2013

All of our past coverage from Build 2013!

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Halo: Spartan Assault is coming to both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8. It marks the first time in the franchise’s history that it won’t be on console or PC. It’s also the second time there will be a departure in gameplay from the series trademark first-person shooter experience. This past week at //BUILD/ we learned a bit more about the upcoming game. We also have a better picture of when it should be on your Windows Phone 8 device – the middle of July.

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While we use this weekend to recover from the whirlwind that is //BUILD/, there is still plenty of news to discuss from the past week. A preview of Windows 8.1 was released to everyone in attendance at Build and to anyone willing to try it out around the globe. Microsoft stressed that Windows 8.1 is just Windows 8, but refined. And in the short few days we’ve been playing we’re going to have to agree with that assessment.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be exploring Windows 8.1 side-by-side with you, finding new features and tricks. One of our new favorites is the ability to have two or more Windows 8 apps opened at once, without having to put one snap. But how do the apps interact with the Charms when you have more than one open? Let’s find out.

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Unity, developers of the wildly popular gaming engine of the same name, announced yesterday at Build 2013 that they have struck up a "strategic partnership" with Microsoft to develop for Xbox One and Windows Phone 8. This collaboration with Microsoft means the development of new development tools geared specifically for both platforms, "including support for many next-generation features like enhanced Kinect gestures and recognition, multiplayer matchmaking, SmartGlass and cloud stuff."

In addition to opening up the development floodgates to both platforms, the new partnership will also benefit those who choose to develop games using the Unity engine.

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As Build enters its third and final day, there has been lots of circulating murmurs regarding Rudy Huyn’s “Wall of Windows Phones” i.e. the technological monstrosity that you see above. In other words, we’re getting a lot of “tips” on the matter and we want to knock out any hope or speculation.

The wall, based off of Rudy’s earlier trick of linking together many phones to display one large Bing/HERE map, has been around for some time now, but this time it has gone bigger thanks in part to Nokia who supplied the phones. Truth be told Nokia and Rudy were going to attempt a Guinness Book of World Records attempt, but due to the $30K fee you need to have them here, well, the idea was nixed.

Let’s head onto the rumors and speculation for some buzzkill…

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Here at Build 2013 we just wrapped up our first session with Sam George. His session was an introduction for developing on Windows Phone. While there won’t be anything brand new in terms of actual development, we did learn some interesting stats about the growth of the Windows Phone Store and how it differs with payments methods compared to iOS and Android. Fascinating stats for your next flame war after the break.

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According to Tom Warren of The Verge, Microsoft’s Xbox Music streaming service will see a web-based interface launching next week. This would provide a substantial boost for the service as it is currently only available on Microsoft based platforms. Bringing Xbox Music to the web would allow access for Linux and Mac OS X users.

The Verge announced that unspecified sources had revealed the plans, and that Xbox Music will be accessible next week at music.xbox.com allowing users to stream content in addition to managing their playlists. We expect to see a preview of the web interface this week at BUILD 2013, before it launches.

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It’s almost that time of the year again for Microsoft to host their annual developer conference, aptly called //build/ (www.buildwindows.com). Windows Phone Central will of course be on location this week, with the show starting on Wednesday and running through Friday.

The event is being held at the Moscone Center in sunny San Francisco versus last year’s well-attended but rainy version on Microsoft’s Redmond campus. It will feature developers from Windows, .NET, Windows Phone, Azure and related “back end” technologies, all learning what's new with Microsoft.

What makes //build/ fun is it’s a chance for Microsoft to tell developers what to expect in the next year, including new tools, new technologies and a few big announcements as well. So what are we expecting?

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