For those that weren’t able to watch the Build keynote live, I have provided a quick overview of the highlights as they happened.


Summary of the Keynote

  • Today is about Windows 8 only. Tomorrow is Azure only
  • Showed the Windows 8.1 improvements that were in the blog post (multi-monitor support, resizable Metro apps, Start Button)
  • Windows 8.1 & IE11 support WebGL
  • Lots of talk about trying to embed Bing everywhere.
  • Support for your own protocols over USB/Wifi-Direct/etc
  • Support for 3D printers so it is as easy to use as 2D printers
  • Cool tech demos showing some interesting scenarios with new devices
  • However, not really any new information

(detailed breakdown and images continued in blog post)

Steve Ballmer comes on stage

We have "lots to show" today, form Microsoft and research partners.

Not so much xbox / skype or lync

But Windows 8, WinPhone and Azure

Excited that they are having another Build so close after the last.

This is due to Microsoft's new transformation to "rapid releases"

Shows off a bunch of new Windows Phones coming from Nokia (928, 925)

A new lower end model Nokia 521 Windows Phone 8 is coming out at $150

Windows devices have had an explosion of new form factors with the release of Windows 8

When Win8 was first released, most devices didn't have touch. Now almost ALL devices have touch

Users with Windows 8 & touch devices are happier than Windows 7 users.

"Is this a tablet, is this a PC, I don't know! But I do know this is 'all windows, all the time'".


Flipboard says they want to create the BEST Windows application possible.

Facebook say that mobile is important and will be creating a Win8 app.


Through instrumentation they can tell that there are about 2 million important desktop apps that people use.

There needs to be a better way to balance metro & desktop apps. Needs a better "refined blend".

The start button is back

You can boot to the desktop


Bing has been improving. It is now the consistent winner in blind search result tests.

Has been gaining marketshare.

They want to extend bing into more areas.

The Windows shell is to be powered by Bing, bringing the power of Bing "inside" devices.

Bing inside Windows 8.1 will also be an "application development platform" for developers


Julie Larson-Green comes on stage


Window 8 was the most ambitious release of Windows.

Windows 8.1 takes that innovation and refines it

Over 800 updates to Windows since the release in November (performance, look and feel, etc.)

Better support for small tablets. Portrait mode, etc


Came up with new ways to show the on screen keyboard

Gestures for the on screen keyboard. Swipe along the spacebar to select the autocomplete



Improvements in the Mail app.

It is just a slightly more functional email client

Search charm updates

Better results in the search charm

Clicking search with a term will give a panoramic view of search results



Better app integration amongst the 1st party apps (xbox music, bing search, bing maps, etc.)

They did a search for a band, it brought up biography & discography. You can then click to play songs and Xbox Music launches and starts playing the tracks for free.

Better Skype integration straight from the lock screen.

Like how the camera can be used without unlocking the phone. If there is an incoming call then you can answer without unlocking.

New "all apps". Just flick "up" to access it from the start screen.


Hands free mode

Uses the webcam to do a "poor man kinect" to swipe through the pages



Windowing & multi tasking improvements

Resizable snapped WinRT apps now

Can snap many apps at once

Demo of 8 apps running on 2 monitors



Showing a preview of an alpha version of the office Metro apps

Currently just a Powerpoint viewer.

Julie leaves the stage

Antoine Leblond comes on stage. Windows Product manager

Existing apps will run better in Win8.1. Free speed upgrade

In 8.1 there are 5,000 new apis

Visual Studio 2013 makes it better to create mobile and connected apps. (how?)

Better ways to profile your app to discover network usage & energy consumption in milliwats

Says how long your app could run before battery runs out



Async debugging improvements

Async call stack is now preserved rather than being thrown away when stepping over.

Makes it much easier to connect Azure mobile services. Easier to send notifications.

You just right click, add a new push notification. Will provision a new Azure mobile service


WebGL & MPEG DASH support in 8.1 & IE 11

You get it in IE and in the Web View control


Due to the high performance of the hardware acceleration, they have 4 webview controls with 2 interactive WebGL screens and 2 1080 videos


Windows store improvements

In app purchases


The store doesn't have a number of pending app updates

8.1 now auto updates apps for you

New storefront.

New "Picks for you" section.

New app description pages





Used tile resources to enable massive 3D environments.

Requires DX11. So only Windows 8.1 and "Next Gen consoles like the Xbox One can do this"

They took 3gb of elevation data of mars, and using tiles are able to do it in just 16mb of graphics card memory

Improvements in DirectX for 8.1


Implementation in a game


New APIs to print in 3D as easy it is to print in 2D




New APIs that let you work with devices that use their own protocols over USB, Bluetooth, WiFi-Direct, etc

(Remember, the Xbox One has WiFi-Direct in it!)

They used the next gen lego mindstorms, connected to a Surface via USB.

They then use another tablet to send commands over wifi to the other tablet.

New "direct streaming" apis

Used face recognition so that when it detects someone it can send a notification (use it as a sentry)





More Windows devices


The live feed then dies and the #BldWin hashtag goes crazy on Twitter.

Feed comes back and they are talking about the new Bing application platform.

Looked like the standard voice search integration and then some controls to embed bing search results in your app.

They embedded the Bing maps 3d view, and then overlayed data on it (pushins, click to see data)

Gave a demo where they were looking at a building in the 3D view, then used voice commands to ask "who is the architect?" Bing then detects the building being looked at, and finds details.




Another demo of using the camera to scan a spanish business card.

They then OCR it

And then use translate for augmented reality (like the bing translation app)




Steve Ballmer comes back on stage

Today we saw this


Tomorrow it is all about the cloud


Showing 1 last app

An app that is a development environment

Runs on phones, tables, Azure on the backend

Project Spark


Sculpting a world using a touch PC

They are using smart glass.

Create the world, put trees in. Place monsters

It is saved to the cloud. Then they go to their Xbox One and plays it.

Then pick up a Surface and use Smart Glass & remote rendering to continue modifying the game

Project Spark looks like Microsoft's Next Gen answer to Little Big Planet. Saw clones of 3D platformers, car racing, card games, braid, etc.