Build 2017 kicks off today, May 10th 2017 in Seattle at the Washington State Convention Center, and is expected to receive big visitor turnout numbers. The event is traditionally seen as a place for Microsoft to give developers a sneak peek at upcoming technologies and to reveal their latest game plan relating to future hardware and software platforms.
They also take on an almost oracle like role and try to predict future trends within the industry, further helping them to steer themselves towards the epicenter of any upcoming new technologies that emerge from these workshop type events.
As is customary before events of this nature and magnitude, rumors abound as to what items will be up for discussion, and luckily, for us, there is no shortage of speculation. We’ll take a look at some of the most likely candidates to materialize from the rumor mill at this year’s //Build/ event.
Windows 10 Visual Upgrades
Not surprising at all is that the flagship OS will definitely be on the cards for Microsoft to show off at Build 2017. The company built its monolithic status up over the years from all the previous iterations of the Windows platform, and we will no doubt be in for a treat as they reveal some new bells and whistles.
Chief among the supposed updates to Windows is a much talked about interface leak (aka Project Neon) that is set to modernize the overall aesthetic of the desktop by elevating current graphical settings and applying textures and graphical features that will enhance, you guessed it, augmented reality setups for hardware such as their much-touted HoloLens.
In addition, while we’re not expecting this to be a revolutionary interface like Metro was supposed to be, (sigh), we are hoping the overall user experience to be much prettier and decently refined.
As well as looking more sparkly, this Windows 10 build (called Project Redstone 3) is also set to up the ante a bit on the architectural front as well, with leaked news about ARM chip support, which will bring the OS more in line with other mobile device OSes.
This allows for the more lightweight nature of this hardware platform to power next-gen Windows 10 devices and is expected later in the year. This will undoubtedly spill over into developer led discussions about their desktop app services and the Universal Windows Apps that will integrate into the larger picture for Microsoft over time.
Cortana And Compatible Devices
What kind of a Microsoft Build 2017 article would this be if we didn’t touch on some of the details that have emerged about Cortana in the last few days? Their official unveiling of Harmon Kardon’s Cortana speaker, Invoke, was preceded by some leaked details about the product and has no doubt sped up its imminent release to the market.
Many have noted the similarities of the device to Amazon’s own efforts in this device segment, but it seems as though the Harmon Kardon unit is taking the sound quality aspect of this device to the next level. It is said to sport three subwoofers and three smaller speakers to deliver 360 degrees of audio output.
It’s no surprise then that the Redstone 3 build is rumored to offer heavy Cortana features and developer support as the company sees itself aligning its efforts to reach this new market. This could make for some highly advanced voice control options through your Cortana enabled device when paired with Redstone 3, a prospect that is long overdue if one considers how effortless The Jetsons made it look back in the 60’s
Cool Gadgets: Xbox, HoloLens, and VR
On the gaming front, specifically the Xbox One console, we don’t see there being too much to talk about here. This is mainly due to E3 being just around the corner, and Build 2017 won’t be the right venue to unveil any of the expected Project Scorpio news that we’re all after.
Augmented reality and mixed reality are hot phrases in the tech industry at the moment, with many manufacturers and developers vying for top spot in this emerging consumer market. We can anticipate some solid hardware demos and maybe a few surprise announcements on the VR front as well.
We are expecting some exciting demos on stage and hope to see some great technical details about the latest specifications for this hardware, although we know the second-gen HoloLens isn’t expected out until sometime around 2019.