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build

We're at the IFA Global Press Conference in Malta where Microsoft's General Manager of Developer Experience, Bryan Biniak, has delivered a special session for the gathered press. With Build coming next week there was never any chance we'd hear about new products here, but in passing he did at least give a massive tease that "new products and services" will be discussed in San Francisco.

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Earlier this month Microsoft teased DirectX 12. The company said they’d have info to share about the next version of DirectX at this week’s GDC gaming conference. The Microsoft press conference just took place this morning. The DirectX team announced and shared a ton of info about DirectX 12. Read on if you’re ready for gaming to get even more enjoyable on your console, PC and phone.

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Microsoft has finalised the development stage of the first major update for Windows 8.1. According to a report over on the The Verge, Redmond has recently completed and signed off on a final version of Update 1, releasing the upgrade to manufacturing partners (RTM - release to manufacturing). What this means is Microsoft has begun sharing Windows 8. Update 8.1 with PC vendors ahead of next month's expected release after the company's Build conference.

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Build is right around the corner. It starts on April 2nd to be exact. Build is going to bring a flurry of news for the Windows Phone faithful, but there’s also going to be some cool info on Windows 8 and Xbox One. On the Windows front, here’s a new report to tide you over another few months. The next update for Windows 8.1, called Update 1, will boot straight to the desktop by default.

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Update 12 PM ET: It's now official 

Someone may have had itchy trigger fingers tonight, as Microsoft has reportedly revealed that //Build/ will be happening on April 2-4 at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco. That’s a favorite venue of theirs, so that’s not too surprising.  What is the shocker is the announcement, which has since been pulled, although the site Neowin  was able to grab the image before it was caught.

Build is Microsoft’s big developer conference that has also morphed into an announcement platform. Build 2013 was last held in San Francisco back in June, so seeing an April date at the same venue makes sense. Registration for the 2014 event will reportedly begin on January 14th at noon Eastern time (9 am Pacific), so you have some time to ponder your expenses before then.

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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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Yesterday during a Build session, Microsoft software engineer Polita Paulus held a session on what it means for developers to upgrade their apps for Windows 8.1. While current Windows 8 apps will of course run just fine on 8.1, developers interested in taking advantage of the new code base will need to recompile their app and add or modify a few lines of code.

Like all OS updates, those of you who are straight up consumers just want to know, what does it mean for me? We know already that in 8.1 the “snap view” is basically gone in the sense that predefined sizes (1/3 or 2/3 of the display) are no longer required. That means you can drag and resize multiple “snapped” windows to whatever size you want.

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Today at Build, Microsoft handed out a few thousand Iconia W3s to the attendees. For those of you don’t know, the Iconia W3 is Acer’s first attempt at an 8-inch Windows 8 tablet running with an Intel Atom processor.

Is it good, bad, somewhere in between? We’re not a 100% sure yet but we do like playing around with it a whole lot. Head past the break for our hands on video and some impressions!

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Today during one of the many Build 2013 sessions going on, Microsoft also publicized some Windows Phone Store numbers since Windows Phone 8 was launched.

By now, many of our readers have probably figured that Windows Phone 8 has quickly become the more popular OS (over 7.x) partially due to the new and exciting hardware and also because of it being more powerful.

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