What we expect to see from Microsoft at Build 2017

It's coming at us fast, so we thought it'd be a great idea to list what we're expecting to see (or hoping for) at Build this year. Build is always full of surprises for developers and users, and here's what we're expecting.

Where and when to watch Microsoft's #Build2017 day one keynote

Project NEON

This is an obvious one. The Project NEON design language is well into its development at this point, with several of its APIs already available in the Creators Update. We expect Microsoft to finally detail Project NEON in depth, including showcases of how Redstone 3 is supposed to look, and how developers can get involved.

BUILD is a developer conference, so we expect Microsoft to show devs how to implement the best possible Project NEON designs, too.

Cortana Skills Set

Microsoft announced the Cortana Skills Set a while back, but it's still not available to developers. We're expecting MIcorosft to go in-depth with the Cortana Skills Set at Build, hopefully giving developers a chance to try out the Skills Set for themselves.

The Cortana Skill Set is a developer SDK that allows developers to build Cortana-enabled devices, as well as integrating Cortana-based skills into apps.

We also wouldn't be surprised to see the upcoming Harmon Kardon Cortana-powered speaker at the event. We've seen work being made in this area, including integration with Cortana with the latest Redstone 3 builds.

More bots

Microsoft went all out with AI-powered bots last year, so we expect it to do the same at Build 2017. Bots are a big deal, so hopefully we'll see further strides in that area from Microsoft. Since BUILD last year, we haven't really seen much AI action from the Redmond giant.

Redstone 3 plans

This is another obvious one. Redstone 3 is due in September, so we expect Microsoft to detail what it has planned for this coming release of Windows 10. We might even get an official name, highlighting what the overall update is all about. We've got our money on "Productivity Update."

There's a lot in the works for Redstone 3, so we're expecting to hear about some new things as well as some existing features, such as My People, a new social feature being built into the Taskbar. If we're lucky, we might hear about Tabbed Shell, and maybe even CShell, although we're not counting on CShell being shown on stage just yet.

Windows 10 Mobile

It's a long shot, but we're hoping Microsoft will talk Windows 10 Mobile at Build. Microsoft has remained tight-lipped about its future plans for Windows 10 Mobile, and we think Build will be the perfect time to outline those future plans, whether they be good or bad.

I have in fact been hearing that internally Microsoft continues to develop CShell for Windows 10 Mobile in Redstone 3 builds. Whether that means we'll see it at Build, or at all, is another question. But we'll keep you posted.

The future of the Universal Windows Platform

We hope Microsoft will outline its plan for the future of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) at Build. If Microsoft isn't willing to talk Windows 10 Mobile, it needs to tell developers where UWP as a whole is headed, because without a mobile counterpart, the company needs a different strategy.

Microsoft also needs to explain that alternative strategy, because developers aren't adopting UWP as fast as Microsoft hoped. Microsoft needs to reassure developers that UWP is here to stay and encourage developers to build for it.

What do you think?

We're not expecting Microsoft to announce a Surface Pro 5 at the event, or the mythical "Surface phone," because Build is mainly for software development. Announcing hardware at BUILD would be uncharacteristic of the company.

What's your take? Is there anything you're expecting or hoping Microsoft will talk about next week?

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads