Yesterday, Microsoft showed off what it's been cooking up for Windows, Xbox One and even HoloLens at its annual developer conference, Build 2016, in the first of two major keynotes.
While the conference is largely aimed at the folks that make the apps you use every day, Microsoft is broadcasted the conference's two major keynotes straight from the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif., so that fans (and devs who couldn't make it) can see what's next for Microsoft as it happened.
Watching the keynotes is almost painfully easy. Just head to Microsoft's newfangled Build 2016 page (opens in new tab), scroll down a bit and press that play button. You can even watch the two keynotes on demand from this page.
What happened on Day 2?
The second day of Build is typically very developer focused and following that tradition, Microsoft opened the floodgates to some very heady stuff, but interesting stuff. Here are the biggest announcements that matter to you from Day two of Microsoft's Build 2016 conference.
The Azure cloud gets bigger
Microsoft cloud network named Azure has officially gone hyperscale with datacenters in 30 different regions. One of the latest data centers is being build on the east coast of the United States and it measures more than a mile long.
While these data centers mainly support businesses and enterprise solutions, Microsoft also uses its cloud computing network to power games like Crackdown 3 the brains behind Windows 10's Cortana.
Free cross-platform app development tools
Microsoft is making good use of its recent Xamarin acquisition and now the software maker has just made its cross-platform app development tools available for all Visual Studio users. Beyond helping developers make more apps for every Windows user, the Xamarin tools also includes an Android and iOS simulator.
The idea is Microsoft wants more developers to start creating more mobile apps using the cross-platform program on Windows 10 in the hopes of more software being developed for the Windows platform.
BMW ups its app game
BMW also took to the stage to announce its new connected drive app, which takes learnings from virtual assistants including Siri, Cortana and Google Now.
The new BMW Connected app for the iPhone is powered by Microsoft's Azure platform and it's the company's take on a always-on assistant - sort of like Kitt from Knight Rider. However, instead of giving tactical information with a snooty attitude, the BMW connected app manages your appointments and notifies you when you should leave, how the traffic looks and ways to avoid it.
- Read more about the BMW's new app here
Office users around the world
Microsoft announced there are 1.2 billion Office users worldwide and 60 million commercial users of Office 365. It's a sharp uptick from years past and now there's a new feature to send custom electronic gift cards. Microsoft demonstrated sending a Starbucks inside of a document. It's the perfect blend of collaboration and coffee in a single meeting.
Hololens brings catalogs to real-life
Last but not least, Microsoft unveiled another use of Hololens' augmented reality headset to make a product coming to life. We've all browsed through a catalog of circular in our lifetime and doing it with the Hololens can bring the product out of the page and into real life.
The Redmond-based company demonstrated this by rendering a front loader from a picture of the Caterpillar product catalog. The construction vehicle rose out of the page and became a full-sized 3D model complete with sound effects and animation.
While everyone might not be interested in construction equipment, there are plenty of way it could be used for more practical uses. For example, Hololens might be able to help you see if that new couch you've been eyeing will fit in your living room or how big a large-screen television will look from where you usually sit.
What happened on Day 1?
While there were a ton of interesting, exciting news that came out of the first Build keynote, a hefty chunk of it spoke directly to developers, not the average Joe (teehee). So, here's what happened during Microsoft's Build 2016 Day One keynote that matters to you.