Evolution just won’t go away and Microsoft has been discovering as much. The company that revolutionized the personal computer with the Windows Operating System, the most dominant desktop platform, finds itself at a crossroads with mobile devices and the cloud weighing as fast moving cross traffic. The choice? Evolve or get run over.
The Microsoft Build Developer Conference 2015 was, in part, a big shout out to developers that Microsoft was ready to recompile Android and iOS apps for Windows – all of which ups the excitement factor for the Windows 10 OS roll out.
Developers can now port their Android or iOS apps on to the Windows platform with minimal adaptations. And once on Windows the apps can then be made “Universal” to run on phones, tablets and even Xbox.
Windows 10 will support seamless cross-device integration and other user-friendly improvements. A new feature, ‘Continuum’, will reshape the OS interface depending on how you intend to use it. Your Windows 10 tablet, for example, will become much more touch-friendly. For convertible devices like Surface Pro 3 your user experience will fit the orientation of your device.
A Windows 10 phone showcased during the conference proved that the phone can indeed perform much of the functions of your desktop PC, another Continuum feature. Linked to an external monitor and Bluetoothed to a mouse and keyboard you end up with a Widows 10 phone-as-PC, a feature with huge implications for people constantly on the move and needing desktop-like functionality at all times, as well as for anyone living in mobile-first parts of the world.
Microsoft calls its new browser ‘Edge‘. It is a faster, sleeker and much more agile browser. Edge will make extensive use of ‘Cortana’, a virtual assistant, and support existing browser extensions.
Perhaps the most revolutionary advance coming out of the Microsoft Build Developer Conference 2015 is HoloLens. The device can interact with your physical environment in a much more realistic way than any virtual reality device available today. It fits neatly into Microsoft’s vision of a unified Windows 10 platform. Powered by the new OS it can run any Universal Windows app. Using HoloLens you can plaster apps on your walls or other flat surfaces and weave digital content right into your real world.
Visual Studio is an Integrated Development Environment from Microsoft. Developers on the Windows platform have long used it to design websites, web apps and services. Microsoft will now release Visual Studio coding tools for OS X and Linux users to empower a new community of developers.