Microsoft Build 2019: 5 things we're dying to see

Satya Nadella at Microsoft Build
Satya Nadella at Microsoft Build (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft's Build developer conference is back this May, and as usual, we're expecting lots of long talks about Visual Studio, the cloud, and other super powerful developer tools and platforms. However, we're secretly hoping that Microsoft puts a little more emphasis on Windows this year, with things like Windows Core OS, HoloLens 2, and Anaheim in the works internally.

Here's what we're hoping to see at the Build 2019 developer conference.

Windows 10 20H1

Microsoft recently started flighting 20H1 preview builds to Insiders in the Skip Ahead ring, which is notable as 20H1 isn't scheduled to be released until April 2020. That means 20H1 will be in testing by Insiders for at least 13 months, the longest of any official Windows preview phase since Windows 8. Microsoft's only official word on the matter is that it's planning new features that need longer lead time for development and testing.

While nothing is confirmed, we have heard whispers that Microsoft may finally be planning to introduce more "CShell" universal shell elements to desktop with 20H1, including an updated XAML taskbar, system tray, and more. This would explain why Microsoft is giving 20H1 a long lead time. It would be awesome if Microsoft finally opened up about its new universal shell at Build 2019, talking about how it can adapt and showcase improved animations and consistency across UI elements.

Whatever Microsoft is planning for 20H1, we think Build 2019 would be a great place to start talking about it.

Windows Lite

Windows 10 Wallpaper

Windows 10 Wallpaper (Image credit: Microsoft)

Another Windows-related thing in the cards for Build 2019 is Microsoft's rumored lightweight version of Windows, known publicly as "Windows Lite". This is a new flavor of Windows Core OS that's designed to take on Chrome OS and iOS for iPad, with a new user interface that drops live tiles in favor of the more familiar static app launcher but still has deep ties with web experiences and puts the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) front and center.

If Microsoft announces Windows Lite, we'd also like to see Microsoft give out a developer device to those in attendance that comes with Windows Lite preinstalled. This would give them an incentive to support Microsoft's new Windows OS.

More on HoloLens 2

Microsoft is expected to announce HoloLens 2 at Mobile World Congress (MWC) on February 24, but we're not expecting there to be a huge deep dive into new developer opportunities at its unveiling. So, that makes Build 2019 the perfect time to open up more about its plans for HoloLens 2 and detail to developers what exactly they can do to take advantage of HoloLens 2's new capabilities.

It's worth noting that HoloLens 2 is another Windows Core OS-powered device from Microsoft. Windows Core OS is the magic behind Windows Lite, Surface Hub 2X, and HoloLens 2, so perhaps a discussion about Windows Core OS itself will happen at Build 2019.

Microsoft's new 'Anaheim' browser

Microsoft Edge logo on Start menu

Microsoft Edge logo on Start menu (Image credit: Windows Central)

We might actually see this show up before Build 2019, but even so, we'd love to see Microsoft talk more about its plans for its new Chromium version of Edge, codenamed "Anaheim". It would be great to see Microsoft detail its roadmap for Anaheim and talk more about why it's switching to Chromium and what kind of improvements and new features to expect because of the change.

An update on PWAs on Windows 10

This kind of ties into both Windows Lite and Anaheim, but it'd be great if Microsoft started talking more about its progressive web app (PWA) plans for Windows. Considering Windows Lite is all about the web, you'd think Microsoft would be making some big strides in ensuring PWAs work well on Windows, and it might even want to convince developers that building PWAs is a great idea if you're considering building an app.

What do you want to see?

That's our list of things we're hoping to see talked about at Build 2019. What are you hoping to see? Let us know in the comments.

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