Next week Microsoft will host Windows developers from around the world in their own backyard when Build 2017 kicks off on 10 May and runs through the 12th and I will be there in person to cover the event and all the related news coming from the company.
However, instead of hosting the conference in San Francisco, CA this year it is being held in downtown Seattle just less than 30 minutes, depending on traffic of course, from the companies Redmond campus.
Although it is very much a developer centric event, it is easy to get an idea on what direction Microsoft's consumer efforts are heading in by taking a closer look at the sessions that are being held.
This week the official Build 2017 app was released for Windows 10 PC and Mobile devices along with iOS and Android versions. That app has the entire session catalog in it so attendees can fill out their own schedule of sessions.
There will be keynotes on Day One and Two and during those sessions the company usually announces any new services, features, and other products plus provides demos of those items.
That is why the session catalog can be a bit misleading because the company is not revealing any new information until those keynotes and so the subsequent sessions in the schedule are giving nondescript names and descriptions to conceal any announcements.
The keynotes will be live streamed through the Build 2017 website and Channel 9 Build 2017 event portal so you can watch from home or work and once the product/service announcements are made then session names and descriptions will be updated. Typically the Day One keynote on Azure, data, and other related services and the Day Two keynote will be about Windows.
So with all that said, based on current session titles and descriptions some of the areas I expect we will hear a lot more about during Build 2017 includes:
-- Mixed Reality. The new Head Mounted Devices from several Microsoft Partners are due this coming holiday season and there are already a handful of sessions listed in the catalog. The Windows 10 Creators Update already has the tools built into the OS to support mixed reality so all that is needed is the hardware and more apps.
-- Microsoft Design Language. This is the new way to build apps and user interface in Windows 10 and there is at least one session that indicates more to follow after the keynote on the 11th of May.
-- Cortana Skills. This package of tools was expected to be released already but has not been made public yet. It looks like there will be a few sessions on using these tools to extend Cortana's capabilities on all platforms. This could also extend to Cortana through other interfaces like the Harmon Kardon speaker tease we saw last fall.
-- Progressive Web Apps. Could these type of apps replace what we know as many apps these days and just give you a framework around a web based service with all the bells and whistles of a Windows Store app? There are also sessions scheduled to talk about Microsoft Edge and what is new for the web and web apps.
-- Bots. There are a lot of bot related sessions ranging from using them on Bing.com and Skype plus the Artifical Tools Microsoft has available to help these bots learn.
I am sure the picture for what impact Microsoft's developer push will have on consumers will become even clearer once we get to Seattle and dive into the keynotes.
Be sure to follow along with us here as we live tweet both keynotes and other news from the conference.