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The most important announcements from Build 2016

As it does every year, Microsoft announced a number of new products, projects and moonshots at its annual Build developer conference.

Here's a rundown of everything you need to know from the event.

An anniversary present

Microsoft is launching its latest version of Windows 10, dubbed Windows 10 Anniversary Update, later this summer.

Important upgrades include the ability for developers to implement Windows Hello biometric support in their apps.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update arrives for free this summer

Microsoft is doubling down on digital ink

Alongside the Anniversary Update, Windows 10 will get enhanced stylus support through Windows Ink.

The company plans to integrate Ink support into its own apps like Word and Maps, and partners like Adobe are already committing to adding support to programs like Illustrator. And because the API is public, anybody with an (ink) dream can get on board.

Windows Ink puts the pen front and center to solve for pen-and-paper tasks

Facebook and Microsoft get cozier

Facebook committed to bringing native apps to Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform, including the core app, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. While Facebook is already ahead of many of its rivals in supporting Microsoft's properties, it's nice to know Windows 10 Mobile will be well served by the world's biggest social network.

Facebook universal Windows 10 apps coming "soon"{.cta .nofollow}

Bash that, Cortana

Linux and Windows are meeting in the middle! Microsoft announced that it is working with Ubuntu creator, Canonical, to bring a native version of the popular Bash shell to the Windows Store. Strange bedfellows, indeed!

The Bash shell is officially coming to Windows 10

HoloLens on its way

HoloLens shipments are on their way to developers and enterprise partners today. But when do I get mine?

HoloLens shipments begin today to developers and enterprise partners

Cortana is creating a bot network

Microsoft announced a new SDK that will make it easy for developers to create simple bots that work within apps.

A Bot Directory is where examples can be gleaned, and using Cortana's natural language prowess, Microsoft already has a head start on the competition.

Cortana Intelligence Suite will offer a rich bot framework with machine learning{.cta .nofollow}

Beam me up, Continuum

Microsoft says that Xbox controller support is coming to Continuum, the company's way for creating a full Windows desktop experience from a smartphone.

Future versions of continuum will also reportedly do away with the cord: Windows 10 Mobile users will be able to "beam" Continuum sessions to compatible monitors.

Xbox controller support and beaming to a PC are coming to Continuum for Windows 10 Mobile (opens in new tab)

Looking for more? Hit up our dedicated Build 2016 portal for everything you need to know about Microsoft's developer conference!

83 Comments
  • I wonder what the rumored Live Tile improvements were.. Windows Central for Windows 10-Nokia Lumia 830
  • This^. I was hoping for interactive live tiles on wm10.
  • That would be great. But Build isn't over yet I suppose.
  • The thing about live tiles and action center improvements were actually specifically scheduled for April 1st. Go back and read that article :P
  • Hey I can give voice to my hopes that we'd hear something today. Shush haha. Windows Central for Windows 10-Microsoft Lumia 640
  • I know, that was more meant for the people complaining and whining.
  • Ah. Those are the people who think Build is only one day.
  • Yup. Plus I thought the stuff today was pretty awesome.
  • It was. I can't wait until we see the implementations.
  • Yeah. It makes me want a finger print reader for my PC. And a device that supports inking :P
  • Haha Surface Pro 4 with the fingerprint sensor Type Cover.
  • Haha definitely don't have that kinda money.
  • Me neither, unfortunately. One day. One. Day.
  • Yes. One day.
  • Still I can enjoy at least some of these benefits on my phones and laptop.
  • Oh. Ty.
  • Still two more days of build, right?
  • I guess, the build conference is till 1st of April.
  • That's true. Most of the big announcements are always on the first day but maybe we'll be surprised.
  • Exactly what I was thinking...
  • Has anyone seen the bots update for Skype yet? Sent from my Toaster Oven (Lumia Icon)
  • It's live for ios and android devices....
  • And Windows desktop.
  • I assume that will be coming with the discrete Skype UWP app
  • Yes, I have on my Surface. It has not yet been released for Windows 10 Mobile. 
  • New writer?
  • Dan likes hiring ppl that share his first name
  • I'm really disappointed !!! Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • This stuff is more for developers that (hopefully) trickles down to us consumers. I see why you're disappointed. I initially was as well before I adjusted my expectations halfway through the day.    
  • Build is a developer conference, so yes, it mostly focuses on developers. It's even in the URL on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Build_(developer_conference)
  • Actually kind of amusing. I'm not a fully fledged developer yet but I really got a lot from today. Pretty exciting. Windows Central for Windows 10-Microsoft Lumia 640
  • What happened to the thing that was gonna make us freak out?
  • I'm afraid this is it. Now, pretend to freak out I guess.
  • I was about to say the same, is this supposed to impress me? If so, I'm more than disappointed.
  • Build 2016 is coming to San Francisco and the Moscone Center March 30 – April 1. Watch the keynotes, live, here. - that was the first line in the results when I searched for Build 2016 on Bing. It's not over, more to come.
  • Where the hell is the mind blowing feature ???
  • Its not over yet...
  • Any big news announcements and setting priorities going forward, are usually announced on the first day.   I wouldn't expect anything for the latter two days.
  • The tweet about something people will freak out about mentioned the date 4/1. It was for developers anyway but still.
  • Eric, what do you mean ? Is THE "feature" not over yet or the build ? ;-) Nevermind. As announced and leaked, it really had to be Amazing and never thought of before and none of today announces, even if great (or not.. I personally use bash and much more linux core functionalities on windows through Cygwin posix emulation since 1999), none was amazing nor mind blowing.
    And as pointed out by some others, usually, biggest announcements are made on the first day of the Build. Not to say that it's impossible that Microsoft kept the better for the end but it is very unlikely. Let's hope... We'll see..
  • The rumor about something that people will freak out about specifically included the date 4/1
  • The most important announcement was the fact that they completely ignored Windows Mobile. Shows a clear picture of what is to come in the future. Now its all about which will work for MSFT users better, iOS or android.
  • 100% agree!
  • Sad omission.
  • Everything is mobile first (iOS and Android) otherwise Windows Mobile coming soon ™
    Even someone on this same thread talking about Interactive Live Tiles...ROFLMAO!
  • Sorry but last I check build spanned 3days. So please spaz out and sputter rubbish IF the event finishes and they don't blow your mind or show the new tile features. Til then pipe down and let others enjoy the innovations coming forth. Jeeeeez.
  • In case anybody plans to comment something like this, let me tell you that one of the very first sessions of Build 2016 is "Continuum for phones". And did you even watch the demo of the new Skype app running on W10M? So no, MSFT are NOT ignoring Windows-phones      
  • Do you understand that all of the cool Cortana/bots, camera recognition, and Facebook and Continuum improvements all benefit Windows 10 Mobile? Sent from my Toaster Oven (Lumia Icon)
  • THIS. It's one Windows now. The platform/display size is irrelevant.
  • oh really? So why we have things only for wp10(yes wp10, when in store there's no w10m but wp10), some only for w10, some for xbox... Come back to reality .. Need to be dumb or idiot to say things like this " it is one windows" ROFLMAO ..    
  • Its whatever they need to console themselves.
  • Sorry, which Windows 10 features are not coming to mobile, other than windows 7/8 improvements? Are you talking about the photos app? Cortana improvements? Xbox controller on your phone? Skype bot stuff? I'm struggling to find your reason for your comment.
  • Same thought, time to think in Plan C for mobile, something I thought would never happen but is the only thing that can save this shinking mobile app ecosystem.  Fork Android as Amazon does with FireOS on their successful tablets.
  • They won't do their own fork of Android, they'll buy Cyanogen.  It has already been announced that CyanogenOS will get deeper Cortana integration than stock Android.
  • That would be really awesome, Canonical has partnered with Microsoft to bring bash shell into Windows 10, also the creator of Linux desktop GNOME works for the open source Microsoft foundation (Xamarin/.NET)  Microsoft's interest in open source could finally bring a customized CyanogenOS with all Android apps but controlled by Microsoft instead than Google Play services.  That would attract a lot of OEMs and carriers for this top quality app platform.
  • No it wouldn't, other companies do this already and they are failing. Android without Google is terrible. It lacks the compelling apps of Android/iOS, lacks the stability/security of iOS/Windows, and lacks the ease-of-use and design of iOS/Windows. It's a loser all the way around.
  • Everything is Windows. If it is a UWP app, it runs on phone. THat is the whole point of not talking specifically about WP, if it works on the desktop, it works on WP.
  • I was really happy when they said "whether you got a new device, or a five years old PC" Sent from Windows Central App for Hololens
  • Yup, a dig at Apple's dickish comment from last week.
  • Bash support is the biggest announcement Imo. Finally Windows is taking care of developers working in unix environment.
  • Would love to hear about Live Lock Screen Beta APIs..  
  • Biggest disappointment was no "Xamarin now included with MSDN" annoucement :( They'll probably have to wait a year so people that just paid for it don't feel shafted I guess. I'm certainly not plunking any money down for it now, figuring some day this will happen.
  • Watch tomorrow's keynote for Xamarin plans.
  • Oh cool, thanks! Maybe we'll see something more... you'd think for any big announcement like that they'd go day one but... fingers crossed! ;)
  • Interesting to see bots for Cortana...integration is the key...loved the skype and ink part... More to come in following days...
  • Ok, looks like Microsoft doesn't care about their small marketshare in mobile OS, thats too bad for Windows Mobile enthusiasts since there will never have the good apps iOS and Android have. Time to switch platforms now. And maybe by end of 2016, Windows Phone marketshare will sink to 0.3%
  • This conference is for developers. They are using the carrot to lure the developers, that being great tools and a large windows user base. Since the apps these developers make will be compatible with mobile, that will benefit us as well as Windows desktop users.
  • They should make an actual Windows Anniversary Edition that's based on Windows 10 and has the Windows 10 shell, but also runs a Windows 95 subsystem. It'll be pretty much like Halo 1 & 2 Anniversary where a single button press will switch between the Windows 10 shell and the Windows 95 shell instantly. The OS will still be Windows 10 and can run all the latest Windows programs, but the Windows 95 subsystem allows it to run all Windows 95 (9x and DOS) programs perfectly. That'd be a pretty nifty version of Windows to have and I'd definitely buy it, probably multiple copies too.
  • TYL: http://www.laptopmag.com/articles/set-compatibility-mode-windows-10 Runs all the way back to 95. It's not always perfect - but then, what software is? It is pretty good, though.
  • Nothing about the Microsoft Surface Phone WTH ... Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Because Build isn't a forum for such announcements.  
  • Actually it is. Surface Phone = new app platform / format. New possibilities for developers.   
  • No it's not. It's a device that runs an existing platform. Besides that: A) It's not ready for announcement B) There is no proof it actually will come to market.
  • That's just what we need, a new app platform. We can start all over again, all over again. Where did you get that anyway? The next flagship phone will probably have more features, new design language, and a polished OS, but it won't have a "new app platform".
  • Action center improvement for me
  • "Future versions of continuum will also reportedly do away with the cord: Windows 10 Mobile users will be able to "beam" Continuum sessions to compatible monitors.​" ​I'm already doing just that with my TV set...
  • The Hole seems to just be getting deeper and deeper. You know the old saying ,"the light at the end of the tunnel", hell i cant even tell we are in a tunnel any more. Thats how dark its getting.
  • Bro, don't give in to the FUD! We've got a shiny new Instagram app... so many new apps I'm seeing all the time. It's a rare occasion when I see a 'loading' or 'resuming' screen with Windows 10... It's improved by leaps and bounds, from an OS and hardware platform that (to me) was better than iOS or Android at the time. Do we want more? Absolutely! But I think things are going pretty well.
  • But the updates keep coming so I'm happy about that. Just updated the camera and now have video pause and HDR. Nice. So far, I am really happy with my unlocked 950xl. I wonder why Microsoft doesn't advertise their phones?
  • It seems as if the standard Windows Phone user is having a hard time understanding that Windows 10 is Windows 10 for all platforms and Microsoft is pushing UWP apps. This means they no longer have to BEG developers to accept Windows phone/mobile and get involved and make money. One app equals usage on all Windows 10 screens. Genius. Please don't let the panic cloud the truth. A lot off the companies that left Windows Phone 8.1 have come back with UWP apps, starting with the banks. Must admit I'm waiting for Chase to step up and catch up with Wells Fargo and B of A.
  • "One app equals usage on all Windows 10 screens." Actually write an app then get back to us on how that worked out for you.  
  • WP users clearly understand the concept of UWP, but are tired of waiting for those apps to appear.  The amount of traditional mobile apps leaving the store are greater than the number of UWP apps being added.  Just compare last year's Build to this year, the UWP was promoted last year, yet they spent a fair amount of time dedicated to Windows 10 Mobile and the development for it. Compare that to the lack of Windows Mobile content in this year's build and its hard to deny that Microsoft has moved on from Windows Mobile.
  • Is build the equivalent to the apple's march event? As in, are these events purpose the same? To show what they have done, and what they plan to do? I'm not trying to say one copied another, I just want to understand why these events are done. L950