Top 5 announcements from the first day of Build 2017


Builiding (Image credit: Microsoft)

And while this year's day one keynote was a little less flashy than in years past, there were still a number of notable announcements, ranging from the latest Windows 10 user numbers to a new Azure mobile app and a more capable Cortana. Here are some of the top announcements from Build 2017 day one. (Note: We didn't include too much of the heavy developer-focused stuff.)

Cortana's got mad 'Skills'

After months of private testing, Microsoft finally launched the Cortana Skills Kit in public preview. Now more developers can build unique "skills" that let Cortana do cool new things, much like the skills that Amazon Echo's Alexa has been amassing over the past couple of years. And as it turns out, many developers are already on board, with a total of 46 skills to check out from companies including Domino's Pizza and Food Network.

A whole lot of people use Cortana every month

Those new mad skills would be useless if Cortana didn't have an audience to check them out. Fortunately, that's not the case: Microsoft says that more than 141 million people now use the digital assistant every month. Microsoft counts any interaction as part of this number, so it's not clear how many people actually speak to Cortana. Still, that's a sizable figure.

Even more people (half a billion!) use Windows 10

We also got our first official word on Windows 10 install numbers since September, with Microsoft revealing there are now 500 million Windows 10 devices in the wild. Of course, devices is the key word there, as Microsoft counts PCs, tablets, Xbox, HoloLens and Windows 10 Mobile in that figure. Still, that's up by 100 million since last we heard, which is solid growth.

Azure on the go

Developers on the go were also thrown a bone today with the launch of the Azure mobile app. Available for iOS and Android today, with a Windows 10 UWP app in the works, the Azure mobile app lets you easily keep an eye on your virtual machines and web apps on the go. There's even a command line built in, letting you run Azure CLI commands with PowerShell coming soon.

Visual Studio 2017 for Mac

Lastly, Microsoft bolstered its multi-platform development cred with the general availability of Visual Studio 2017 for Mac. The latest version of Microsoft's integrated development environment (IDE) includes all of the development tools necessary to code for multiple platforms in one environment, now on Mac.

This year's day one keynote was focused on the intricacies of developer tools — something usually seen on the second day of the event. However, we're expecting to hear much more on Windows 10 and mixed reality tomorrow, so bookmark our live blog page now before you forget!

Your thoughts?

What are your impressions of the first day of Build? Did we skip an announcement we should have included? Are you psyched for tomorrow? Let us know below.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl