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From Build 2016: Windows 10 Update for Summer, HoloLens Now

Microsoft's Satya Nadella expands the company's vision with the concept of "conversations as a platform." That's where Skype, HoloLens, and Cortana now need developers to usher those tools deeper into the conversation,, which means tools aplenty now and to come.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella opened up the Build 2016 Conference in San Francisco with the idea of a new platform in the "...-as-a-platform" vein -- Conversations as a Platform. Much of the talk centered on that concept, with much of the new tools that were introduced having to do with a number of communication apps.

"As an industry, we are on the cusp of a new frontier that pairs the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence," said Nadella. What he calls "Conversations as a Platform" is really a conceptual approach to tying together Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Windows 10 with its communication solutions (Skype, HoloLens, Cortana, upcoming Windows Ink Platform for Surface and pen-enabled devices). Microsoft's Edge browser will be able to take advantage of many of the features

I've summarized lots of information demonstrated by Nadella's executives. We'll plan to cover these items in more detail in follow-up posts this week, next week, and for the next few months. Herewith, what's of significance:

Windows 10 Anniversary Update: This is planned for some time in summer of this year, and will be free to all Windows 10 licensed users. The new tools in it, Windows Hello, Windows Ink, Xbox One Dev Kit, and HoloLens support tools, Windows Ink platform, will be built in as previews. (Preliminary news on Windows 10 Update's summer release is on the Redmond Magazine site here.)

Visual Studio 2015 Update 2: It officially came out of RC status, and has gobs of new features: latest version of VS Tools for Apache Cordova, VS Tools for Universal Windows App Development, improvements to the slew of language tools, More information here; our last news coverage on the RC release is here.

Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition: Alex Kipman and Kudo Tsunoda, co-developers and team leaders for the HoloLens, officially announced the availability of the HoloLens and the HoloLens Development Kit today (we wrote about it here). It's mainly aimed at serious developers and enterprise early adopters who want to start writing code to the device.

Cortana Intelligence Suite: Effectively, it's a renaming of the Cortana Analytics Suite, but there are few more new features of the suite that were introduced today. The suite comes with a full compliment of data-crunching tools that developers can tap into and manipulate from within their apps: Cortana Cognitive Services, which is a collection of intelligence APIs that can take advantage of the various methods of input -- speech, touch, image recognition. Also brand new within the suite is the Microsoft Bot Framework, which will allow natural language types of conversations between and among apps that are aimed at communication: Skype, Outlook, SMS, Office 365, and others.

We'll cover lots of these as well as some of the nuggets announced during the show (including Bash for Windows, which got a genuine round of applause during the keynote) in future articles on this Website, so stay tuned.

Nadella's keynote will be available on demand on the Channel 9 site here.

About the Author

You Tell 'Em, Readers: If you've read this far, know that Michael Domingo, Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief, is here to serve you, dear readers, and wants to get you the information you so richly deserve. What news, content, topics, issues do you want to see covered in Visual Studio Magazine? He's listening at mdomingo@1105media.com.

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