Build 2014

BUILD 2014 day one: Cortana, Universal apps, Windows 8.1 Update

BUILD 2014 day one: Cortana, Universal apps, Windows 8.1 Update

Microsoft brought on well over two hours of content to the public this week on the first day of BUILD 2014, the company’s developer conference. Here we learned about Windows 8.1 Update, Windows Phone 8.1, and Universal Windows Apps. We also got our first glimpse of Microsoft’s natural language personal assistant, Cortana.

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Cortana hands-on: Windows Phone 8.1’s smart assistant

Cortana hands-on: Windows Phone 8.1’s smart assistant

The iPhone has Siri, Android has Google Now, and now Windows Phone has Cortana, Microsoft's new digital assistant for smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1. Launching as a beta when WP8.1 hits devices over the next few months, Cortana blends the speech-first approach of Apple's system with the contextual backbone of Google's, throwing in some location-based cleverness and a little AI snark along the way. We introduced ourselves at Build 2014.

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Nokia Lumia 630, 635 bring 4.5-inch display, dual-SIM

Nokia Lumia 630, 635 bring 4.5-inch display, dual-SIM

With the Nokia Lumia 630 and Nokia Lumia 635, the company is going for another release that’ll match their success with the Nokia Lumia 520. The Nokia Lumia 520 is, after all, the best-selling smartphone in its price range according to several studies as well as Nokia. Here with the Lumia 630 and 635, things get a bit bigger in all aspects.

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Microsoft adding Live Tiles to Start Menu in Windows 8.1 update

Microsoft adding Live Tiles to Start Menu in Windows 8.1 update

Live tiles are one of the interesting tweaks for Windows Phone, and it seems they’re coming to the desktop as well. Microsoft’s Terry Myerson announced that live tiles would be coming to traditional Windows 8.1 desktops, and would even make an appearance in the start menu. That’s right, the start menu is coming back.

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Windows Phone 8.1 release hits Lumia devices this summer

Windows Phone 8.1 release hits Lumia devices this summer

In an effort to make certain the owners of Nokia Lumia devices were overjoyed with their continued support of the Windows Phone ecosystem this week, Stephen Elop stepped onstage at BUILD 2014. There he suggested that "all Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices" will be getting Windows 8.1 over-the-air this summer.

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Microsoft gives Xbox One to developers at BUILD 2014

Microsoft gives Xbox One to developers at BUILD 2014

This year’s big push in the BUILD 2014 developer arena is in cross-platform apps. To that tune, Microsoft has decided that their big send-out to developers attending the conference will be an Xbox One as well as $500 Microsoft Store credit in the form of a gift card. With these, developers will be well on their way to creating cross-platform, Universal apps.

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Kinect v2 for Windows detailed: 1080p, broader field-of-view

Kinect v2 for Windows detailed: 1080p, broader field-of-view

At BUILD 2014, Microsoft has laid the groundwork for some future products and services, most of which are coming relatively soon. One that may not be hitting us in the next month or two is the next version of Kinect. The new Kinect will bring many new features to the fold, and could signal a new way we’ll interact with our PCs.

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Xbox One to launch Windows Universal Apps eventually

Xbox One to launch Windows Universal Apps eventually

After introducing the idea of Universal apps across all Windows devices earlier in the day, Microsoft let it be known that Xbox One would be participating in the layout in the future as well. With the launch of the latest Windows 8.1 Update, Universal apps will be pushed as well. This means developers will be able to use a lot of the same code for all platforms, be they Windows, Windows Phone, or Xbox One.

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Microsoft Office now better for touch, multiple devices

Microsoft Office now better for touch, multiple devices

Along with a new Windows Phone and personal search assistant, Microsoft also revamped Office a bit. The newest version of Office is just as functional, but drops quite a bit of the utilitarian feel of former iterations. It’s been optimized for all screens, which seems to be a hallmark of BUILD 2014.

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Microsoft tells developers to “become mouse and keyboard friendly”

Microsoft tells developers to “become mouse and keyboard friendly”

Detailing the bits and pieces that’ll be appearing in the next Windows 8.1 Update this year, Microsoft showed off how they’ll no longer be so focused on touchscreen devices. While both touchscreen devices and those without touch will be supported, it was clear this week at BUILD 2014 that Microsoft was aiming for a much better middle-ground.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Wi-Fi Sense aims to douse mobile data

Windows Phone 8.1 Wi-Fi Sense aims to douse mobile data

There’s a new feature launching with Windows Phone 8.1 called Wi-Fi Sense. This feature has been put in place by Microsoft and detailed this week at BUILD 2014 to be a means of making your cellular data bill go down with Wi-Fi utilization.

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Cortana apps include Facebook, Twitter, Skype

Cortana apps include Facebook, Twitter, Skype

Starting off with a bang is what Microsoft needed to do with their own long-awaited personal assistant Cortana. This week they’re making a rather grand effort in doing so, connecting this natural language assistant work with Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and other apps right off the bat. Cortana has been revealed, as it were, at BUILD 2014, Microsoft’s developers convention.

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