Get set for BUILD 2014 and Windows Phone 8.1

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Microsoft's BUILD 2014 developer event takes place tomorrow and it is widely expected that Windows Phone 8.1 will be officially announced during the main day one keynote. The keynote and subsequent sessions will be streamed via Microsoft's Channel 9 website starting from 08:30 PST (15:30 GMT, 16:30 BST). Nokia also has its own event tomorrow, taking place at 17:00 PST (0:00 GMT / 01:00 BST), where it is expected to announce its first Windows Phone 8.1 device.

Nokia's #moreLumia event

Nokia's #moreLumia event is relatively small scale and is not being streamed. The logical assumption is that the Finnish company will formally announce the widely leaked Nokia Lumia 630, which is expected to be available in both single SIM and dual SIM variants, another first for Windows Phone. 

If announced, the Lumia 630 will be Nokia's first Windows Phone 8.1 handset, which means we should hear about the software additions and updates that Nokia plans to make available on top of the standard Windows Phone 8.1 release. Some of the features that Nokia added in Lumia Amber and Lumia Black are expected to become part of the core Windows Phone platform (e.g. double tap to wake), but we expect to see new functionality and updates to existing Nokia exclusive apps.

Lumia 630

BUILD 2014 sessions

Microsoft has not formally announced its intention to announce Windows Phone 8.1 at BUILD 2014, but has stated that developers will learn more about the future of its Windows platforms at the event. This likely to include some early details on Windows 9, but the main focus will be on Windows 8.1 Update 1 and Windows Phone 8.1.

A number of session titles and descriptions, which were released by Microsoft yesterday, provide some broad clues as to what we can expect to see discussed at the event. Windows Phone 8.1 is mentioned by name several times and there's also descriptions of the "the brand new Action Center" (notifications), as well as "new system-wide speech and natural language user experience" (Cortana).

Some of the sessions that caught our eye include:

Multitasking and Triggered Background Tasks for Windows Phone Apps

Windows Phone 8.1 introduces new mechanisms to allow applications to execute while not in the foreground. A converged Triggers and Background Tasks implementation allows tasks to launch on time, location, push, Bluetooth and system events. Learn how new resource policies affect how and when your application runs in the background and how to use these new feature from Windows XAML and Silverlight 8.1 applications.

Notification Platform Development on Windows

Windows and Windows Phone have a converged notification platform and development model starting in Windows Phone 8.1. Come learn what the converged platform means for your existing apps and how to take advantage of the new platform and great new features shared with Windows. You’ll learn about WNS including push and local notifications and about the brand new Action Center and its associated programming model. This session in conjunction with the Live Tiles session will give you everything you need to know about notifications for Windows Phone and Windows Store apps.

Live Tiles Enhancements

Windows and Windows Phone have a converged Live Tiles platform and development model. In Windows Phone 8.1 you’ll be able to do great new things with the Tiles Platform and this session is targeted at helping you understand several critical tiles topics. Specifically, migrating your tiles from a Windows Phone 8.0 app to a Windows Phone 8.1 app and how to best take advantage of the new Tile Templates and scenarios available to you using the converged model on Windows Phone 8.1.

Windows Runtime for Windows Phone Developers

The Windows Runtime now provides the foundation for both Windows and Windows Phone apps, providing developers with thousands of API’s to build innovative experiences. In this session we’ll explore the Windows Runtime from the perspective of a Windows Phone developer. We’ll compare and contrast Windows Phone Silverlight apps with those written using the Windows Runtime.

The New Windows Phone Application Model

The new Windows Phone application model

The new release of Windows Phone dramatically expands the ways in which developers can build applications and games, by adding several new programming models, and also expanding the application model to support a broader set of developer scenarios. Andrew will explore these in depth and give you the information you need to get started building applications that leverage these features today.

Dealing with Data: Storage, Roaming, and Backup on Windows and Windows Phone

There are very few applications that do not need to interact with data in some way. Whether you’re a game developer simply looking to track high scores or an enterprise developer who needs the ability to store, retrieve and manipulate large amounts of information in your line-of-business app, successfully managing data is critical to your success. In this session, Sean will cover how your app can store its own data and interact with user data stores like photos and music using Windows Runtime APIs. He will also discuss how you can use roaming to keep data in sync across multiple Windows devices. Finally, he will talk about the new backup and restore features coming to Windows Phone and how your app can participate.

User Data Management in Windows Phone

User data is at the core of developing personal experiences on a smart phone. In this session, Tony will discuss new APIs to manage user data available in 8.1. He will address extended read access with Windows Runtime APIs, system UI tools to efficiently get tasks completed, and opportunities to integrate the data that your platform knows deep into the core Windows Phone experiences. The specific data types that fall into these themes are Contacts, Appointments, Email, and Online Media. Among other scenarios, the session will cover attaching arbitrary files to emails and writing appointments into the user’s calendar.

Managing Resource Constraints on Windows Phone

Anyone can build a simple app, but a complex app requires more thought. Building a serious app on a device with significant memory and CPU constraints can pose some interesting technical challenges. You also have choices about the breadth of markets you want to address with your app. In this session, we'll look at your choices, and how you can work within the resource constraints to build compelling, resilient apps. We'll also deep-dive into the platform Resource Manager, examine what's new in Windows Phone 8.1, and explain the rationale behind the resource management policies.

New Integration Opportunities with Wallet on Windows Phone

This talk is especially for you if your business has membership cards, coupons, tickets or deals. We’ll be talking about new features for the Wallet that make it easy to get your content onto Windows Phone, even if you don’t have an app. There are new branding opportunities, support for relevant card alerts at the right time and place as well as ability to keep the card current through updates from the cloud. There is an end-to-end experience around travel, from buying a ticket, to checking-in, to getting the boarding pass. Wallet has added cross-platform capabilities such as support for iOS Passes and travel-specific actions in Gmail. There is a new tool you can use to create wallet cards quickly. Come see how you can use our lightweight platform to engage your customers on the next release of Windows Phone. Note: NFC functionality has been decoupled so that apps can now support NFC payments inside their own experiences. It will not be covered in this talk.

Building Great Bluetooth Apps for Windows Phone

Windows Phone 8.1 builds on the Bluetooth LE APIs for Windows 8.1 and has extended them to enable exciting new scenarios such as fitness and “find my keys”. In this discussion, we’ll highlight some of those scenarios and provide guidance on how to use new APIs for background agents and triggers.

Sensors Platform Enhancements in Windows Phone

Come learn about the latest enhancements in the sensors platform in Windows Phone 8.1. Hear about the enhancements made in the platform to keep the developer experience seamless between Windows and Windows Phone.

Modern Camera and Imaging Apps in Windows and Windows Phone

Learn how to build XAML/C# camera and photos apps for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. This session includes rich demos of the Windows.Media.Capture API and advanced image processing techniques, including HDR.

The New Video Editing APIs for Windows Phone: Windows.Media.Editing

Creating applications that edit video is now possible on a Windows Phone. From simple trimming of a single video clip to complex editing of a composition containing multiple clips and a background soundtrack, the new Windows.Media.Editing APIs give application developers on the Windows Phone Blue a powerful tool to quickly build a dedicated video editing application or add editing as a feature to another application.

Building Geo-Aware Apps with Maps and Geofencing

Do you want to enhance your phone app with maps - add data to customize your maps, provide routing, or traffic information? Do you want to make your app experience contextual to where the user is located, even when your app is not running? If that is the case, this session is for you.We will provide practical guidance on how to use mapping and geofencing APIs to make all this happen. Our new geofence-based triggers allow you to be notified of timely location-based actions without the worry of excessive battery drain. The geofencing APIs are common to Windows Phone and Windows 8.1, but we will talk about the platform specific differences.

New Security Features for Windows Phone

This release of Windows Phone fills several gaps in the security feature lists and packs a surprise. This session will walk you trough these new features with sample code and demos. Please attend for a comprehensive view of the Windows Phone security programming model.

Deploying and Managing Enterprise Apps

Learn how companies can publish their Line of Business apps for deployment to Windows and Windows Phone, and then manage the lifecycles of those apps. The two platforms haven’t yet converged on a single mechanism for doing this, and this session will help navigate the differences. This session will provide overviews of each platform as well as what’s new for 8.1, including policy allowing only certain apps to run on Windows Phone, the ability to remotely install and uninstall apps from a Windows Phone, changes to sideloading and sideloaded apps in Windows 8.1, and more. Also see how MDM vendors such as Windows Intune choose to abstract many of the differences and service both platforms in a unified way.

Windows Phone Enterprise Management

Windows Phone 8.1 will be easier to deploy in enterprises and Windows S14 update contains some critical enterprise improvements. This session provides everything you need to know about the new Windows Phone 8.1 enterprise features and MDM policies. We’ll also provide a quick overview of what’s new in S14. To round out the session we’ll do a couple of Windows Phone demo to make the feature descriptions come alive.

A full listing of sessions is available here.