Build 2016 day 1 keynote and wrap-up

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Day one of Build 2016 has now finished and, being a developer conference, there's not a huge impact to Windows 10 Mobile users on the face of things. But I did want to pick a few tit-bits out of the keynote and other conversations...

Above is the obligatory inspirational video highlighting the growth of Windows 10, across hybrid, laptop, phone and Xbox form factors. And yes, there are some Lumia 950 and 950 XLs shown in the footage, albeit briefly.

From the Microsoft announcements:

In the eight months since launch, Windows 10 is off to the fastest start in Windows history, with over 270 million active devices, outpacing Windows 7 in the same timeframe by 145%.

In the eight months since launch, Windows 10 is off to the fastest start in Windows history, with over 270 million active devices, outpacing Windows 7 in the same timeframe by 145%. People are spending more time on Windows than ever before – over 75 billion hours – with the highest customer satisfaction of any version of Windows. We are on track to reach our ambitious goal of one billion Windows 10 devices in the next few years.

From the installed base of Windows phones, I'd estimate that only 20 million at most of this 270 million devices are phones, though this will increase over the next few months as more and more Windows Phone owners are made aware that they can upgrade to Windows 10 Mobile.

But on to the new, official name for (codename) 'Redstone', it seems...

Windows 10 Anniversary Update coming to PCs, tablets, phones, Xbox One, Microsoft HoloLens and IOT

Today we announced that we will be releasing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer, for free, to all Windows 10 customers. Key innovations include:

1. Windows Hello Brings Biometric Security to Apps and Microsoft Edge

Windows Hello enables you to easily sign into your device with enterprise-grade security. Yet, studies show over 80% of people use the same password across multiple web sites, managing around 20-30 different accounts requiring passwords. So with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update we’ve made it possible for you to use the same easy, yet strong, security of Windows Hello* with Windows apps and Microsoft Edge, the first and only browser to natively support biometrics, with supporting sites.

So, on the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, for example, you'll be able to sign in to web sites in Edge by using the Hello iris recognition. Which will be rather cool...

2. Windows Ink Brings the Power of Windows to the Tip of Your Pen

More than 70% of us spend more than one hour a day using a pen. We lose notes in our notebooks, take pictures of whiteboards, and can’t do equations or music composition with a keyboard. Windows Ink is an all-new experience, putting the power of Windows in the tip of your pen, enabling you to write on your device as you do on paper, creating sticky notes, drawing on a whiteboard, and easily sharing your analog thoughts in the digital world. Windows Ink is integrated into apps like Maps, Microsoft Edge, and Office. And today, we demonstrated how developers can incorporate Windows Ink into their apps with as little as 2 lines of code!

It's not clear how much, if any, of the Ink project code will make its way into Windows 10 on phones. In theory, much of it might be useful, given that the phone is touch-based all the time....

3. Cortana, Now More Helpful than Ever, with over 1,000 apps

Windows 10 is the best place to have a conversation with Cortana, with nearly 1,000 Cortana-enabled apps already available. Today, we’re launching a new Cortana Collection in the Windows Store to make it easy for you to find great apps with Cortana. And in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Cortana** has learned how to proactively make suggestions for you through-out your day, like offering to buy you lunch or arrange transportation. Cortana will be available above the lock screen, giving you quicker access to your personal assistant for common tasks across all types of devices without unlocking your PC. And only Cortana works across your devices – you can complete certain notification-based tasks on your Windows or Android phone, such as receiving and sending text messages, on your PC. Developers now have full access to Cortana’s proactive intelligence through proactive actions, allowing your apps to perform tasks based on user context by linking existing actions in your deep-link enabled apps and websites.

Good to see, even if some of this is a catch-up with similar systems on Android/Google Now or iOS. In other words, Cortana will get smarter and will be integrated with more applications.

Making Windows 10 the best Developer Environment

With so many great apps coming to Windows 10, the Windows Store has already received over 5 billion visits.

Our goal is for Windows to be the best platform for all developers. And we are so proud of the great things our partners are doing on top of this platform. We’re excited about new Universal Windows Platform apps from Twitter, Uber, King, Disney, Wargaming Group, Square Enix, Yahoo, and WWE – with new apps on the way from Bank of America, Starbucks, Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Facebook will also be bringing the Facebook Audience Network SDK and App Install Ads to the Universal Windows Platform – enabling 3 million Facebook advertisers to reach Windows 10 customers later this year. With so many great apps coming to Windows 10, the Windows Store has already received over 5 billion visits.

Some of these univeral apps are here already (e.g. Twitter, Uber), some are yet to arrive, but there does seem to be real momentum this time round.

Terry Myerson was asked specifically about plans for new Windows 10 Mobile hardware and functions and said:

“We’re fully committed to that 4-inch screen, there will be a time for it to be our focus, but right now it’s part of the family but it’s not the core of where I hope to generate developer interest over the next year,” he said. “There’s no lack of recognition to realize how important that form factor is, but for Microsoft with Windows and for our platform it’s the wrong place for us to lead.”

Well, it's certainly not 'leading' at the moment, but at least Windows 10 Mobile is in the 'mix' and part of a growing and successful ecosystem, spearheaded by the Surface hybrids. From Myerson's comments, maybe this summer is too early a time frame for a 'Surface phone' after all - I'm now guessing that this might be announced towards the end of 2016. In the meantime, of course, we have two very capable flagships in the Lumia 950 and 950 XL and a really beautiful budget offering in the Lumia 650, plus the software builds for these keep getting better and better, so I'm staying optimistic.

Source / Credit: Microsoft