May 11, 2017

Everything Microsoft announced at its Build conference on Thursday

Swayne B. Hall / AP

On the second day of its annual developer conference, BUILD, in Seattle, Microsoft's announcements ranged from mixed reality controllers to new developer tools. Here's everything you need to know:

  • OneDrive files on-demand: This upcoming feature for Microsoft's Google Drive competitor will mean that users can access their files without using up storage on their devices. Other newly announced features include offline file access on Android and iOS, and OneDrive file sharing within iMessage.
  • Xamarin Live Player for iOS apps: This new program lets developers build iOS apps without needing a Mac computer, as they previously did. Now they can do it on a Windows machine, and just need an iPhone they can connect to their computer.
  • Fluent Design: Similarly to Google's move in 2014, Microsoft has unveiled a set of design guidelines, called Fluent Design, aimed at helping developers build consistent looks for their apps across Windows devices, including in virtual reality.
  • Windows mixed reality motion controllers: Microsoft unveiled motion controllers and said that its partners (Acer, HP, Dell, etc.) will sell controllers that pair with virtual reality headsets in time for the holidays. Partners will design whether to sell them individually or bundled with headsets.
  • HoloLens coming to China: The company announced that its mixed reality headset will start shipping in China later this month. It became available in the U.S. and Canada last year and has since arrived in seven more countries.
  • iTunes comes to the Windows Store: Finally Apple's iTunes will be available for Windows 10 users. It's not only a popular and important application, but will be the only authorized way for users to connect iOS devices to machines running on Windows 10 S, a more constrained version of its operating system. SAP Digital Boardroom is also joining the Windows Store.
  • Windows Story Remix: Microsoft's new media editing software can either auto-create slideshows and videos, or let users edit their content into a polished product without any fancy skills. It will be available on Windows 10, iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
  • Windows Fall Creators update: In the fall, Microsoft will roll out its next update of Windows, which is expected to include some minor changes in design and new capabilities. The company had previously said that it will now update its system twice a year.
  • Ubuntu comes to the Windows Store: Microsoft is now making the Linux based operating system available in its store, making it possible for developers to run tools from both systems, side by side. It also seems to be a bid from Microsoft to make it more appealing for developers who would otherwise switch to Linux or macOS to have access to those tools.
  • Microsoft Graph expands: The company's tool originally built to connect data from Microsoft productivity apps will now include more devices and third-party apps.

ICYMI: Here's Axios' overview of Day 1.

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