Microsoft Build Highlights: Apps, Mobile Continuum, and Edge
Microsoft’s annual developer conference, Build, is happening in San Francisco right friggin’ now. As such, the company took the occasion to tell attendees (and those watching via stream) about some cool new goodness coming from Redmond this year. Unsurprisingly, a lot of that goodness has to do with its forthcoming new operating system, Windows 10. Join me, won’t you?
Android and iOS Apps on Windows 10
Apparently developers will have an easier time than ever in terms of converting their iOS and Android apps into versions usable on Windows 10. Developers will soon be able to “reuse nearly all the Java and C++ code from an Android phone app to create apps for phones running Windows 10.” The same capability will be there for iOS developers building programs using Objective-C, thanks to new capabilities being brought to Microsoft’s Visual Studio.
If an app can run on the phone, it should be able to run on Windows 10 on the desktop as well—at least, that’s my understanding of Microsoft’s Universal Apps initiative. Overall, that’ll be a great add-on for Windows users no matter what device they’re on. If I’ve got this particular detail wrong, it’s still a big win for the Windows Phone platform, since it means that developers will have an easier time filling out Microsoft’s app store.
Microsoft also announced more details about the Continuum feature, which they’d previewed late last year when they first debuted Windows 10. At that point, it seemed like a neat way for PC-tablet hybrids to switch interfaces on the fly. As it turns out, though, Microsoft has grander plans for the feature.
In addition to noticing when you do or don’t have a keyboard attached to a tablet, Continuum can sense when you plug a Windows Phone into a monitor, essentially converting a mobile phone into a full desktop computer. Like the Surface 3, this is a computer that’s still held back by its technological limitations. But the fact that you can use your phone as a full computer as long as you have a monitor is pretty awesome. That, combined with the greater likelihood that you’ll have access to Android and iOS apps in the not-too-distant future, make Windows Phone a much more attractive platform.
Project Spartan Becomes Edge
The new name of Microsoft’s web browser, formerly known as “Project Spartan,” is now “Edge.” While that’s not a particularly interesting name—though, really, are “Chrome” or “Safari”?—it’s still a hell of a lot better than Internet Explorer.
We’ve seen plenty of what Edge will offer, and it sounds like a great step forward for Microsoft’s web-browsing business. Still, I would’ve loved to keep calling this thing Spartan. In my heart, that’s what it’ll always be.
Stay Tuned for More
Microsoft has more Build left to talk about, and Windows 10 is set to drop this summer. We’re certainly going to hear more from the conference, specifically about HoloLens, so stay tuned…
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