Here is a summary of all the nice stuff Microsoft presented on the build 2014 keynote yesterday.
Windows 8.1 will get an update which will be released around 8th of April and you will be able to download it through Windows Update.
The following is the new features included in this update:
- IE11 gets an update with a new feature called Enterprise Mode which will enable full IE support. So visiting an old IE web page with this mode enabled should work. I think this feature could be really nice for larger organisations which can’t update Windows because they have too many old internal web pages which only work for IE8.
- The biggest focus in the whole update for Windows 8.1 is to improve the user experience for user with keyboard/mouse. Some things to improve this is a right click context menu when right clicking tiles in the Windows 8 start screen, so you don’t have to go down to the appbar and press a button. Much easier to select several tiles and add/remove tiles.
- New buttons has been added for Power and Search to the right of the login name in the top right screen of the Windows 8 start screen, this will do a lot for the user experience of Windows 8!
Under the year there will be more updates for Windows 8.1 which includes:
- A Start menu in desktop mode will be added which has been improved for Windows 8 where you will have a part of the startmenu looking like the Windows 8 screen with tiles.
- You will be able to run Windows 8 applications in widows on the desktop so you can run any number at the same time in different sizes.
Microsoft also want companies stuck with Windows Forms applications and can’t afford to lift the whole application to a new framework to be able to be a part of all these new cool things and thus you will be able to reference old dll files into a winrt app and use the old logic that works and make a new GUI for it.
Windows phone will be updated to Windows Phone 8.1:
- The biggest focus in this update is Enterprise. VPN has been added to the phones, a company can cnonect a phone to the company and push apps and settings to the phones and also manage which apps the user can and cannot run. The user will be able to encrypt emails which are nice when sending company emails.
- Action Center: A new menu much like the one in iPhone and Android which will be opened by swiping in from the top of the phone, this will contain 4 customizable buttons, the user can choose what he/she want these to do, like activate/deactivate WiFi. Apps will be able to send notifications which will be shown here so the user doesn’t miss any notifications.
- Cortana: Microsofts answer to Siri (for iPhone), this AI will be powered by bing and use Bing to find answers to questions you ask. The idea of Cortana is to act as your personal assistant and do all things a personal assisance would be able to do. E.g. Remind me to talk to my sister about her new puppy and the next time you call your sister, send her a sms or mail Cortana will remind you about this, you could add new meeting in the calendar and much more. The booring part about this is that it will probably work best in the US and never work for Swedish, but, it’s a cool feature And for you who don’t know, Cortana is the AI in the game HALO
- The calendar has received a much needed update with week views and more, the calendar is actually useful and good now :).
- A wordflow feature has been added to the keyboard. This is the feature to drag your finger from letter to letter and create words instead of tapping each letter.
- More Sence features, one of them is WiFi sence which makes it possible to automatically join open WiFi networks, share your home WiFi to your friends in some way (they never described how this is done, but it sounds cool!)
- New High density mode for tiles which makes it possible to have 3 columns with normal sized tiles.
- You can choose your backgrund for the start screen. Your tiles will be transparent so you can see the image through your tiles.
- Apps can now handle the lock screen so you can get new cool looking lock screens.
The update for Windows Phone will be starting to roll out in April/Maj and will probably come first to the Lumia phones. The first phones which will be sold with the new update are the Lumia 630 with 3G and dual SIM (first WP with dual SIM), the Lumia 635 with 4G and the high end phone Lumia 930.
There will be a new kinect for windows which has a better camera for low light environments and can handle people close to the camera much better. A new SDK will also be released for the new kinect.
Then I’ve saved the best: Universal apps
This is a new project type in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 which will add a Shared project where you can place all your code if you want, and then in the Windows Phone and Windows 8 projects you can add views if you want them to look special for that platform. The old WP8 Silverlight apps can be upgraded to WP8.1 Silverlight or migrated to a Universal app project. When you do a Universal app the app can run on Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1 and Xbox!
So much nice stuff! I will post a new update tomorrow with all the good stuff from keynote day 2!