Microsoft have have made a few announcements at their Build conference. The company seems to be wanting to change and have integration of devices and apps as one of their main goals. And HoloLens, the first untethered holographic device.
Microsoft are aiming to grow and become bigger than any other company and have released parts of their plan to do so. One billion devices using Windows 10 is the aim, and to do so they are opening up to developers. And then there’s HoloLens, which will be something completely new and could change many areas and industries.
One issue that Windows have had is a lack of quality apps in the their store. Apple and Android’s app options are vast compared to Windows, and this has been an issue. Getting software from an app store has made finding and installing programs easier, putting many of the options into one place. Four new SDKs have been announced to ease app creation and development. Code bases for web sites, .NET and Win32, Android Java/C++ and iOS Objective, integrated into the Universal Windows Platform.
Adobe’s Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements are coming to the Windows Store using the new Win32 application SDK. There are about 16 million applications that use Win32 SDK, and currently many of them aren’t in the Windows Store. The apps being easy to find in Windows Store will make it easier for users to know what apps exist, and to find ratings and reviews on them easily. Candy Crush Saga, by King was recoded using the Objective C SDK, and the developers founds not much was needed to be done to change to code to have the game working on Windows systems. Other companies partnering to build apps include WeChat, Disney, Netflix and USA today.
Windows Universal Platform is designed to aid developers to make apps that go across devices without needing to recode everything. A user will be able to have the app on their PC, tablet and smartphone. Integration for Cortana and Xbox Live will also be pushed to give users a completely connected experience. Media content on one device will be able to be used on any Windows device, which is something Windows has been missing out on.
Smartphone will have the ability to be used as PCs when connected to a television through Continuum. Continuum scales apps to be used on larger screen sizes and will make productivity easier. It may be possible for a user to have the one device, should they choose to. Considering how powerful the insides of smartphones are, their affordability and popularity, this move makes a lot of sense. A HDMI connection will be used for quality.
HoloLens is a holographic device that will bring a new way of presenting, designing and sharing visual information. When designing a building, HoloLens will make it possible to give a 3D demonstration of what is planned to be built, and allow people to walk through different rooms to see the plans in an encompassing visual. For students, like those in medicine, practicing medical procedures can be done without the need for patients. A medical student will be able to use a hologram to practice on, to get to know human anatomy in 3D. This is a feature that could see developers and users creating new ways to entertain and interact with a virtual world. No doubt gaming developers will be keen to utilize this technology. As it’s only first generation, the best is yet to come. The HoloLens will be the first untethered holographic device. Trimble, Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic have been using HoloLens for the past 100 days since its release, and on display were how the technology was being used.
Everyday users will have a new browser to use, Microsoft Edge. Spartan was the working title of Microsoft’s new browser, and Edge was chosen as Microsoft want to be on the edge of browser programs. Microsoft has had a bad time with Internet Explorer, and finally decided to start again. The Internet and technology has changed a lot since Internet Explorer was first introduced, and many web browsers have features and usability that Microsoft’s offering never had. Edge is to be at the lead of modern web standards and security with a focus on productivity. A reader will be built in, so users will be able to reader distraction free. Cortana integration will be used as well.
Microsoft needed to rejuvenate the company’s products, to show users and developers they are more than yesterday’s heroes. There are a few things going for Microsoft that will allow them to step out, take risks and attempt to get back to being number one. Microsoft is looking to the future, to improve productivity, to give developers more freedom and access. An added edge for Microsoft is that many users have been familiar with the Window’s operating system for many years (And some users who may have grown up using Windows from almost birth.). Being able to have apps that work on Android and Windows will be a big plus. And HoloLens, that’s a pretty exciting technology and it will be interesting to see where Microsoft and its users take it.