Skip to main content

All you need to know and expect from Microsoft Build 2015

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 RedstoneRedstone 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 1April 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 (opens in new tab)). 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 2April 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:

Sound off in comments what you expect to happen this week!

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

158 Comments
  • Build is always exciting and it's fun to run into old friends, meet new people, and hear all that is coming. Prepare for some interesting news coming in the next few days! Now time to pack and fly 2,500 miles.
  • Let us know everything...
  • Man I expect the 840 to get its covers off tomorrow at build fingers crossed hope so it makes its way as rumours suggest ;) and happy journey;)
  • Wont happen. BUILD is for developers and another chapter in Microsoft's story. Hardware announcements more likely in September.
  • Not really.  They could hold flagship devices for later announcement, but pop out some mid range devices to showcase the new OS.
  • Yess.!! Like last year .!! Hope so this year not flagship but the midranger pops up :)
  • Me too, very curious to see what the 840 looks like if they reveal it
  • Did you not read the article? Sheesh.
  • Read that ..!!
  • Flagship announcement is very unlikely at THIS POINT. A new phone(s) is definitely on the horizon, possibly an 840.
  • Great write up! We'll see what happens. I'm definitely nervous about Android app on the Windows Platform. Save travels!
  • Me too, I hope they don't do that, it would mean no develipment for the plataform, developers will only develop for iOs and Android, that's no good for the plataform 
  • I'm nervous as well. If I want Android apps, I'd just buy an Android phone. We have too many of those anyway. I hope it's just a rumour.
  • I too feel the same, it wont happen. I'm a very big fan of Windows Phone. Starts the app develpement from 2010, if its happen, No one will buy WP. All r goes with Android. 
  • Would love to go. Have fun, and take lots of pictures
  • This is very exciting! It is sad I am not able to make it due to several restrictions but I will watch it live and I am incredibly excited to see how the new announcements can help me as a developer help consumers and even port apps to Xbox One :).
  • Safe travels out there guys and have fun!
  • Got any extra tickets Dan? I'd love a front row seat of the action. :-) Enjoy man! Looking forward to how the Microsoft story continues to unfold. :-)
  • If you seen any AT&T reps there please ask about Denim and GDR2. Thanks!
  • Hey ruby, is the English language a real problem for Americans? Or should you just claim it as a derivative of the proper version since spelling and punctuation is really a major problem for you all. Check this article for ALL the examples of poor punctuation.
  • Your second sentence required a question mark.
  • BOOM!
  • Take care man :)
  • What do you think its the likelihood of a surface mini announcement at build?
  • Slim.
    Surface mini got cancelled.
    And Build is a developer conference.
  • You should update the photo in your story, it's a bit old.
  • 4pm BST but we get ya ;¬)
  • Daniel, since you mention old friends, how is Sam Sabri? Say hi from the WC community if you see him!
  • I was just in San Francisco the other week, it was absolutely amazing there. Would love to have been able to attend Build, but I'll have to watch online for another year I guess :-)
  • Do you think Microsoft will show the full UI of Windows10 for desktop and mobile? I mean reveal the new design language and how it works similar to what Google did last year with Material Design? Even if they don't have hardware to show a final and completed UI and UX presentation would go a long way
  • If you're meeting Sam Sabri, tell him we miss him... :)
  • I'm not watching BUILD if they pull any android crap on us loyal windows phone users/enthusiasts :T
    --------------------------------
    Really looking forward to a new more stable and feature packed windows phone build! :)
  • Devil is in the details. I think we should all remain cautious until we know how this will all work, if it does happen.
  • Daniel, Tom Warren has hinted multiple times that the "Android apps on Windows" is really just including Android app development in the UAP. Have you heard anything about this?
  • Yup, that is what I'm leaning towards too. Like I said, let's MS explain it before we grab the pitchforks ;)
  • +830
  • That's exactly what I said
  • Wha​ts important for us is that you'll be ready to grab a pitchfork if need be. We'd want a mass boycott, no applauds if they announce the silly android on windows massacre ​
  • Too late, the clowns have already come out to play.
  • Exactlyy.!!
  • I have heard that they might allow straight adaptation of everything except the UX. So that W10 will allow people to just publish their Android-apps with a user interface that is adapted to each screen size-treshold that W10 has.   This is HIGHLY unconfirmed though, so don't run with it. (I doubt you would anyways, this disclaimer is more for the WMPU-crew that stalks this site).
  • They're not going to talk about running android apps on Windows, especially at build. 'Hey devs thanks for coming, now go learn android/java!. Everyone is leaving with a free LG G4 with Lollipop!!!!'
  • Very funny wise guy, very funny. But that ain't gonna happen ;)
  • I think the best thing would be kind of a converter like put in your android app and you'll get your windows universal app... Following with easy steps to integrate windows stuff like live tiles and Cortana etc...
    Every android app on windows would be kinda messy :-o
  • Android=no apps for Windows! Why are you doing this Microsoft
  • That's all well and good. Just hoping MS really doesn't make any plans for running android apps on windows phone. It will be like a proverb in Hindi language "apne hi pair pe kulhadi maarna" (Hitting the axe on your own feet deliberately)
  • Desi tadka did the trick
  • Kya baat hy... Chalo issi bahaane Hindi comments shuru 3-2-1... :D
  • Well, there's no "deliberately" in the original. "Apne pair par kulhari marna" could also mean accidentally.
  • Imagine this. Go to Play store. Android app codes. Copy. Paste. Send for validation in Windows Store. And it runs on Windows Phone. The beauty of it. Yes, the UI might be the same as android... But you have all the apps you need.. And based on usage, devs can later tweak the app to look like a windows app. If any app after this refuses to publish on our store *cough snap chat cough instagram cough* .. They are just plain *******.
  • Yeah because going the blackberry route is soo worthwhile! Look at their 80% market share :D most valuable mobile phone OEM on earth! /s
  • Them doing it was like using nitrous when going down a slope. Us doing it is like using nitrous when climbing up a slope. Big difference. Timing. :)
  • The thing about a platform is that it has its own native apps. There's already a platform that runs android apps and its called android. Why does there need to be a Windows platform that also runs them?
  • Market share.? Once people realise that all apps are available now on the windows platform.. There is nothing stopping them from switching to Windows except the OS, which is pretty damn decent here. And once we get the market share we need, then we can rule the game again and force devs to code specifically for windows. Yes, maybe a couple of years later.. But still possible.
  • Well I still hope it never happens. It could only do more harm than good.
  • Embrace, Extend, Extinguish. That is how Microsoft succeeded in the past, they need to do the same with Android Hosting.
  • So all the current owners of android are going to flock to Windows because it now runs the same apps they already have on their current phone? They could just, you know Doesn't make sense.
  • What is seriously wrong with the best of both worlds? I love the WP OS, unless it actually dies, I will likely stick with it. I am personally missing like 2 apps, my banks app and plague inc, so if I had access to them, I'd be extremely happy. Now what about everyone that for some ungodly reason has to have snapchat. If you were able to tell them they could have snapchat, and buy a good, cheap phone, most of them (or likely their parents) would jump all over that. Too many people are hung up on what the "tech people" are thinking. Sure a percentage of us actually know what's happening in the background, bu tyour average user doesn't. They want cheap, effective, and all the apps they want. I don't have any more proof that this will help Windows Phone than I do that it will hurt Windows Phone, but I atleast am going to wait and see what happens before I pass judgement.
  • It will still hurt Microsoft in the long run, and alienate windows native app devs. No two ways about it.
  • That's the thing though. There are "two ways" about it. This can go both ways and, until it happens or doesn't, any predictions as to if it'll help or hurt MS is pure speculation. There is literally no way you can argue other wise. There's no solid proof either way.
  • The point of Android apps is not being native coded, it's being on the native store.
  • What's Continuum? \(0_o)/
  • Ask Cortana!
  • Auto adaptating UX depending on input method... Or... If you have only a touchscreen it will be in tablet mode, but if you connect a keyboard or a mouse it will adapt to that and change to a more mouse-familiar interface.
  • I wanted to buy the Band today, but I'll wait to see what comes out of Build.
  • They will, with a 99% certainty, NOT reveal any new hardware during this event. This is all about the developers. They might show some up and coming features and developer-changes for the Band though.
  • I'm not expecting new hardware, but probably availability in other markets (I'm in Canada).
  • No flagship phone surface pro 4 band....
    Just lost interest in build
  • What exactly would a Flagship Phone Surface Pro 4 Band look like?
  • It would look like the greatest device ever made.
  • Haha. Freakin' A mate. I wonder how you pass your English exams.
  • Surface Lumia - Win10 Phone with Snapdragon 810 Surface 4 pro
    Surface 4 Awesome!
  • Rofl surface 4 within a month after the surface 3 launched?
  • BUILD is for developers, not hardware announcements. We will likely see new phones in September.
  • You shouldn't have had interest in it in the first place. Build has always been about software.
  • Do you go into the butchers looking for apples?
  • Wish MS brings new standalone IDE for WP ! 
  • What's the need? Just use Community.
  • I wouldn't use an IDE on my phone....tooo difficult.
  • Well a standalone IDE for developing WP apps.  No I wasn't asking a IDE on WP.
  • Excited and fingers crossed that I can continue the life of Windows and not fall into the dark side!
  • Windows 10 is A New Hope. Right now what's happening is Revenge of the Droid! :D
  • That means there's gonna be a Droid strikes back :( I prefer Return of Windows (Return of the Jedi luls)
  • And then 'This Platform Awakens'!
  • Windows Outcast and Windows Academy ;)
  • The Android Menance.
  • Has already happened when Nokia (Naboo) was invaded. Lol. Stephen Elop was Darth Sidious. Hehe
  • Legacy of the Windows Devs
  • Or The Dev Wars!
  • Darth Nutella
  • I feel like Microsoft is the new Nokia.
  • VS for OSX please. I can ditch Windows then.
  • Ty McTavish from Brute Force? O.O
  • Now now. I'm surprised you still remember that game.
  • It was literally my very first Xbox game, along with the SW: Clone Wars/Tetris double disc that came with the console. Of course I remember! Still wish there was a reboot/sequel. Would love to see it beautifully crafted on Xbox One. :/ I've literally put months of playtime into it just replaying and trolling around on the deathmatch maps.
  • My very first game was Halo: Combat Evolved. I've finished the campaign more than five times and eyes still fill up everytime I hear its soundtrack. I'm glad they have anniversaries of 1st gen games on the One.
  • I remember when my dad first rented that from blockbuster. I literally could never beat The Library even on Easy till like 2010 when I finally got ahold of a copy for 2$ at a pawn shop. #HaloForever
  • Looking foward for amazing features to be released for windows 10 pcs, more hololens fun, and rest it will be about big data their acquisition of Revolution analytics. I'm excited about IOT too.
  • Just waiting to them to acquire Xamarin and other app converter utilities for VS '15 :)
  • After an upcoming write-off due to Nokia acquisition? Nope. Not happening, though, it would be quite useful as they would reduce the fee charged currently for developing using Xamarin.
  • miguel de icaza wouldn't go to the mothership. He's much more productive and happier in the Open world. His Xamarin team was able to support Google Wear in Xamarin tools the day it was released. With Redmond red tape, it would have taken months. Stop saying they should acquire Xamarin.  That would only set them back further in this new open landscape.
  • Hope they announce Cortana in more countries. Latin American regions should be in that list!!!
  • Install their app BUILD, it's really awesome!
  • I hope Android apps compatibilty becomes a reality ;-)
  • i would like to see the mid-range devices 740 - 840 : (
  • September most likely
  • with flagships ?
    but there's rumors says that 840 will include windows 8.1 gdr2 so maybe it's come before that ?
  • There's rumours Elvis is still alive too.  
  • +9001
  • I'd like to see a 6.5" Lumia 1750 WRS (Redstone) device....
  • With fake Emerald or real Emerald?
  • Fake
  • Maybe developer preview of Windows 10 for mobile. That would be great.
  • Its 100% very likely. They did say they would be launching the office apps for WP by the end of April.
  • Is it possible to watch the keynote on the Xbox one?
  • Porting of Android apps on windows phone will be featuring news on build.
  • Hell No! :D
  • Why not? It is not the same to run Android Apps than porting the code to a Windows 10 project and then build a Windows 10 app.
  • LOL... so android apps on Windows are to be expected. Well, you know how it goes, half of the powerusers here gonna go mad about it until an ex-MS employee comes and gives an explanation that leads to most of them being like 'yeah its probably better off like that'. I like all the changes of the new OS, just trying to figure out what direction are they headed to, and that's gonna be pretty clear by the end of this Build.
  • "the BIG big talk, featuring Nadella, Belfiore, Myerson" Sorry couldn't help myself. LOL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3nXHAQa-gQ
  • 4 pm GST! You mean 4 pm GMT?!
  • Probably netmann; typos are commonplace in Windows Central, nothing new about it. xD
  • No, its should be 4 pm GDP.
  • 4 PM gross domestic product? Seems legit ;)
  • No flagship phone announcement?  No reason to watch this then.  
  • Come back in October then
  • I get way too excited when events come up. Love all the fresh news. I sincerely hope Thurrott has the Android bit wrong. He paints a very bleak picture. I'm hoping for improved porting, and nothing more. I'd like to hear some nice hints at the number of devices coming, TW suggests up to 4!
  • Elop is one of the keynote speakers. He has to bring something new to the stage.
  • Will there be a way to stream this event on WP devices?
  • Maybe the Build app?  
  • Plz let us sideload apps without unlocking our phones! Even android users can sideload anything. Give us more control.
  • Microsoft doesn't allow it to prevent piracy of apps. A prevalent problem android suffers from.
  • Sounds fun!
  • I would dump my iphone tomorrow if I could get Android apps to run on it. The only problem with WP are the availability of official apps and not only that but the quality of those apps. Say what you want, but WP apps don't run as smoothly or have as pleasing of a presentation on WP, nor do they often have as many features. But, I love everything about WP and if android were to work, I'm sold!
  • I never we are expected to see any new devices at Build, but for Daniel to say it's just too early......... File this under: Lol..LMFAO❕.... Riiiiiiiiiight.
  • I hope they announce openvpn support at build - support for Commercial vpns would really be appreciated!
  • Hi Daniel Big fan of u.....I m exited abt the build....plz keep update the news....is it real android on wp ???
  • I'm leaving for iOS if Microsoft approved the Android apps project.
  • So you would go to iOS for what? You would just end up with a less functional UI and guess what, you would end up with the same apps that iOS and Android share right now, the same apps that would be on Windows IF Microsoft goes ahead with the project. That doesn't make sense at all as you would run from WP due to apps coming to go to an OS that has the same apps that you are running from. You don't wan't Windows Phone anyway if you are leaving because of apps coming. You all need to get real. Android isn't coming to Windows, APPS THAT RUN ON ANDROID may be coming to Windows. Guess what, when those apps run on Windows, they are no long apps that run on Android, they are apps that run on Android AND Windows. 1 app, two OSes. If Microsoft does this, they would have effectively made Android developers apps into Universal Apps without any or little coding. So once again, you leaving to go to iOS means that YOU gave up what made Windows unique and the lack of apps is not the reason we all chose Windows Phone so the addition of apps should not be the reason we leave. Really, some of the comments are like "WP must always lack apps or I'm leaving!" or "I don't want my WP to be besmirched by Android apps!" Seriously....they are Android apps, not the Android OS. I don't use Snapchat but people are complaining about it not coming to Windows Phone, if Windows can run apks, then Snapchat will be on Windows, not some beta version or unnoficial version but the same one that iOS and Android users enjoy. Snapchat will have officially come to Windows whether their CEO likes it or not. All those games will now be available for Windows devices. Some of you sound ridiculous as Microsoft may have found a way to give you the apps you want and then you turn around and say you are going to leave. What a slap in the face. If the apps work just as they do on other platforms, same features, no betas, watered down apps, but the same great apps, WHAT ARE YOU ALL COMPLAINING FOR!!!! Really, do you just want to say "This app was made for Windows VS this app runs on Windows and Android"? People do not choose WP because their apps are not there and if apks can run on Windows and a person says "Is Clash of the Clans available on Windows?" Our answer would finally be YES and they would lose NOTHING in choosing a Windows device. Seriously....I can't believe how some people are not grasping this. Oh and for anyone saying "Devs won't make apps for WP!" They wouldn't have to. That is the beauty of it. The consumer does not care what OS an app was made for, they just want the app. If this is apks on Windows, making an Android app would no longer be an Android app, it would honestly be a universal Windows and Android app, thus, by default, a devloper HAS made a Windows app or an app for Windows Phone/10. 1 app, 2 OSes.
  • This article you wrote I can sum it in this sentence, windows 10 will be an improved version of Nokia X software. No thanks!
  • Put into words exactly what I've been thinking.
  • Build is only three days this year, as they know Windows 10 is turning into a disappointing and late train wreck. Only Android and HoloLens SDK can save Microsoft platforms now.
  • how many hours to build??
  • Daniel, you lost me when you said that the Surface Pro 4 won't be released until "until later this year, possible near the holiday season."  Most in the tech industry have been saying for some time that the Surface Pro 4 will come out at the same time Windows 10 is released.  That is consistent with MS's vision of the Surface since the original versions:  It is supposed to bring Windows to the Surface and show what the latest version of Windows is capable of.  It is also consistent with the fact that the Surface Pro 3 is getting discounted left and right, with most agreeing that this means the Surface Pro 4 is on the verge of being announced and that it will be released soon. This doesn't mean that the Surface Pro 4 will be announced at Build.  Assuming a late July or August release of the SP4 (which I think is likely), MS should wait until end of may at least to announce the product.  Nothing good comes from announcing a product more than 60 days before release, IMHO.  But I think "later this year or possibly near the holiday season" is off.
  • Nnnnnnnn... Nnnnoooo flagshippppp??????
  • Nice bait :D
  • If Microsoft was planning on emulating Android apps on WP, it would've never released all these phones with only 1gb of ram. Android apps barely run on freaking Android with only 1gb of ram, ffs.
    Relax, people.
  • I wouldn't jump the gun on the android app part yet. Many here are just overacting to some unconfirmed news. I do know that many hints have been dropped on the android part, which means more of being Visual Studios being able to code for WP/android and developers can direct port the codes over instead of just emulating the app. Whatever it is, lets wait and see.
  • Can anyone confirm this http://news.softpedia.com/news/Microsoft-Announcing-Android-Apps-Support...
  • I can indeed confirm that. I can confirm it's a link to a report of a rumour that MS are likely to do it. And you can take that to the bank. What you can't count on, however, is any truth in it.  
  • I know that flagship Lumia hardware most likely won't be revealed at this event but I'm kinda hoping that the 840 will make a show. My trusty Lumia 820 is on it's last legs and I need an upgrade. I like the Lumia 930 specs but prefer the form factor and expandable memory of the 830. If a better version of that is on the way in the form of the 840 then that sounds like the phone I want, and soon!
  • So excited for this!!!
  • ios apps on windows would've been fine. android, no ty. fuck android, fuck google, fucking bastards.
  • can we expect date announcement of next build coming to windows 10 for phones ?  
  • Thanks for not giving GMT times.
  • My guess: Cross-platform VS will be cloud/web-based, with mighty "just upload your Droid source, press deploy and happy sailing" functionality. Anything below this will fall flat on its arse anyway.
  • On my birthday, very good.
  • Android apps on WP sound very intriguing but I really doubt that why would put such an effort into universal apps just to crash it by offering android apps