Build 2016: the biggest news from Day 1 and 2

The Anniversary Update

Also known as "Redstone" (though, Microsoft hasn't confirmed that), this major update is slated to launch later this summer – hence the name – for not only Windows 10, but for Xbox One as well. The update brings a slew of new changes specific to certain devices.

For one, Windows Ink will provide existing apps enhanced controls and optimization when using a stylus, ideally Microsoft's Surface Pen. On stage, enhanced Sticky Notes will recognize handwriting and offer contextual solutions, like creating a calendar event if a word like "tomorrow" is written.

Cortana will see major upgrades as well, such as contextual, automated functions based on what you're currently doing within an app. Not to mention that the Anniversary Update will introduce her to Xbox One.

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Xbox One goes Dev Mode

Microsoft's Phil Spencer took the stage to talk up Xbox One Dev Mode, promised way back at the 2013 launch of the console and landing as part of the Anniversary Update.

This new mode allows any old, retail Xbox One unit to transform into a developer kit with the press of a button. While most of us lay folk won't even bother with this feature, that's not the point.

What this does is allows any developer out there to begin creating apps and even games for Xbox One without having to bug Microsoft for a developer kit. On top of this, Nickelodeon, Dailymotion, NASCAR and Hulu LLC announced plans to bring Windows 10 Universal Windows apps to Xbox One later this year.

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HoloLens ships to devs, starts to revamp medicine

We already knew that HoloLens would ship to developers starting March 30, but Wednesday's on-stage confirmation and heartfelt exchange between co-creators Alex Kipman and Kudo Tsunoda sealed the deal.

The developer kit box was shown off on stage as well, but more important was the demonstration put on by a group of Case Western University doctors. It showed off how 3D rendering and remote participation can enhance the learning experience for would-be doctors and nurses.

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Bots, bots, bots

Despite the Tay debacle, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella carried on with evangelizing the firm's mission to bring Bots – or intelligent agents that live within other apps and services – to the forefront of computing.

So much so, in fact, that Microsoft issued a Bot Framework for developers to easily create, manage and deploy said bots to various Windows apps. Furthermore, the company took it one step further with its Cognitive Services suite of tools that can further enhance bots with machine learning capabilities that Microsoft has developed over the years.

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Skype already feels the bot craze

Speaking of which, Microsoft issued a series of bots (and support for third-party bots) to Skype that you can play around with right now. They include live audio/video to text translation, support for bots to communicate with you directly that Cortana can immediately handle and more.

Microsoft also teased that Skype is coming to HoloLens, with gesture drawing support and Cortana's machine intelligence built in.

Stay tuned to this space through Build 2016 for the latest from Microsoft.

  • Hey, it's also VR Week on techradar!
Joe Osborne

Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more. Previously, Joe was TechRadar's US computing editor, leading reviews of everything from gaming PCs to internal components and accessories. In his spare time, Joe is a renowned Dungeons and Dragons dungeon master – and arguably the nicest man in tech.