This morning is the kickoff for Microsoft’s annual developer conference, with keynotes highlighting the next year in Microsoft. In the last several years we’ve seen the Redmond based company highlight upcoming technologies and platforms that it is hoping developers will target, from bots to personal assistants, but 2018 is a different year, and we’re seeing a different Microsoft. With the recent demotion of the EVP for Windows and Devices, Terry Myerson, we’re seeing a push from the company to develop around Windows, rather than for it.

Microsoft’s new mantra is “Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge” which focuses on the emphasis of leveraging cloud computing for much of our needs now, but also with the emphasis on IoT powering the Intelligent Edge. There’s little doubt that Microsoft was too slow to react to the move to smartphone computing, but they are determined to not miss out on IoT, and it’s hard to blame them. Microsoft is quoting the expectation for there to be 20 billion smart devices around the globe by 2020. To put that in perspective, Microsoft stated today that they’ve reached the 700 million level for Windows 10 active devices, which is below their original targets, but still a huge number, but it’s dwarfed by what’s coming with IoT.

Microsoft announced today that they will be open sourcing their Azure IoT Edge Runtime allowing their customers to “modify, debug, and have more transparency and control for edge applications”. They’ve been a big supporter of open source in the last several years, so at this point it shouldn’t be as big of a surprise as it is, but they clearly see the future of this market and want to ensure they leave no barriers to uptake.

They’ve also announced that Custom Vision will run on Azure IoT edge, bringing the Azure Cognitive Service for vision to the edge, so that devices on the edge will be able to use vision to make decisions and take action without a cloud connection. They’re expecting to bring more Azure Cognitive Services to IoT in the next several months.

Microsoft is also partnering with Qualcomm to create a developer kit for Vision AI running on Azure IoT Edge, to make it easier to develop IoT products which rely on the camera. They are also partnering with DJI, which is the world’s largest drone company, to create a new SDK for Windows 10 PCs.

The other side of the coin is the Intelligent Cloud side, where Microsoft is promoting new features coming to Azure, such as Project Kinect for Azure, which packages several sensors, including their new depth camera, with onboard compute. There’s a new Speech Devices SDK which builds on what you’d see in Cortana for speech recognition, and they are showing off a preview to Project Brainwave, which is an architecture for deep neural net processing which is now available on Azure and on the edge.

While much of what they are talking about has little to do with lowly PC, there are still a few nuggets of interesting information for Windows 10 and the PC. Microsoft is developing a “Your Phone” experience which will allow you to access data on your phone from your PC, so you’ll be able to access your text messages, or quickly drag a photo from your phone to your PC as well. This is something they tried to achieve with Windows Phone, but with the limited uptake of that, it never made it very far.

Microsoft Launcher, which is an Android launcher, will now support Enterprise customers for access to LOB applications via Intune, and users of Microsoft Launcher on Android will be able to leverage the new Windows 10 Timeline feature to access your recently used data from your phone on your PC. This will also be coming in a more limited form to iOS if you use Microsoft Edge on iOS, which I would assume is a pretty small percentage of iOS users.

Windows 10 is also getting an official name for the new tabbed applications we’ve seen in the Windows Insider Program. Sets will allow you to open multiple instances of your apps in tabs, just like you would use your browser. This seems like a great idea and it’s amazing it’s not come already, but in theory it will be in the next update for Windows 10 due this fall.

This is the new Microsoft. They have seen great success with their cloud products, and are not so subtly transitioning away from their legacy products, and as such, there’s less to talk about on the PC side than there used to be. It’s definitely helped their share price.

Source: Microsoft Build

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  • ZeDestructor - Thursday, May 10, 2018 - link

    The taskbar stops working very well when you have hundreds of pages open (I'm currently at 683, and I know multiple people with well over 1000). In situations like those there are contextual benefits in having multiple tabs grouped by purpose (e.g one tab group for writing one project, another for monitoring, another for general browsing, etc).

    As for system-wide ability to navigate tabs, it's getting there with Timeline (in 1803) and integration of tabs into the alt-tab workflow (currently in Insider Preview). There is currently a dependency on Edge, but I hope that MS sees benefits opening up the APIs to external developers too (and that external developers take advantage of it).

    On top of that, if you find tabs to be sub-optimal for browsing, there are alternatives like tree style tabs if you're willing to stop using Chrome and use Firefox instead.
    Reply
  • thunderbird32 - Monday, May 7, 2018 - link

    "This is just more crap that nobody asked for"

    Citation needed
    Reply
  • timbotim - Monday, May 7, 2018 - link

    The problem with the use of tabbed applications is that they are a second-level GUI organisational tool (like menus) that the clueless UI designers are attempting to promote to a top-level GUI organisational feature - these are called windows :) Once UI designers get that users need multiple top-level objects (they don't *have* to be conventional windows) their GUIs might actually be worth using. Until then the mobile UIs will continue to be an embarassment when compared to their desktop counterparts Reply
  • Ket_MANIAC - Monday, May 7, 2018 - link

    Feel you should be banned but I pity you. If you have all that money to buy 2 4K monitors, could you spare a couple of hundred dollars for me? I have still been using my PC for the last 7 years because I am a tech pro who knows what bang for buck is and understands the value of money and making do with what resources I have. Considering I use a 1080p display on a 14" laptop and a 15.6" laptop, I don't see how sets doesn't help me or countless others. Oh, how I wish I could use the last two words of your first sentence against you, but I feel you ain't worth me getting foul mouthed over. Anyways, good day "gentle"man. Reply
  • timecop1818 - Monday, May 7, 2018 - link

    That's funny, I'm typing this on a 13" laptop with 4K screen. Shitty 27" 4K monitors are < $250. Maybe you've made enough money in 7 years being a "tech pro" to afford a new 4K screen? Your eyes will thank you for it. Reply
  • Ket_MANIAC - Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - link

    Well, good luck using separate windows for every browser window. Cause OFC, tabs are useless. As for using 4K on smaller screens, well, to put it bluntly, unless you are a photography pro and edit and stuff like that, 16:9 4K on anything smaller than 15.6 inch is useless and more of a gimmick than actual use. Like I said, I believe more in real world applications and stuff that actually work than feel good stuff like "eyes will thank you". Quality of screen and a 3:2 display like the Surface Studio are more preferred than shitty 27" 4K screens. What's the point of buying anything shitty knowingly for so much money? Like I said, I feel you have more money than you can spend so maybe its easy for you. Reply
  • timecop1818 - Tuesday, May 8, 2018 - link

    > Well, good luck using separate windows for every browser window.

    I've managed so far up to now. infact, the only time i have a problem is when i accidentally open something in a tab (like clicking an external link) and forget about it, and then i have to start chrome task manager to locate the useless tab by name.

    > 16:9 4K on anything smaller than 15.6 inch is useless

    it's perfectly fine for coding and getting more text on a screen while still keeping it readable. i couldn't give two fucks about photography.
    Reply
  • Ket_MANIAC - Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - link

    Look here buddy, clearly you are way over your head, using 4K screen to just code and then telling me that my eyes will thank me for it, thank for what, extra smooth curves of #include<stdio.h>?
    Anyways, if it suits you, use it. Don't come here and foul mouth an article while recommending expensive products as well as their shitty 27" counterparts and calling everything else BS. If you like it, then do it in a civil way without using profanity in the first place. Now I will leave you alone because you are literally too stupid to have a discussion with.
    Reply
  • ZeDestructor - Thursday, May 10, 2018 - link

    >thank for what, extra smooth curves of #include<stdio.h>?

    Yes, actually. At very small font sizes, increases in pixel density have serious usability and comfort (less fatigue) benefits when you stare at it for 8-16 hours a day, every day.

    Here's an example of a lowercase w on a 100ppi screen at 8pt (my default font size for terms and code): https://i.imgur.com/hYfPNb6.png . As you can see, there is very low contrast, and that makes it tiring to read.
    Reply
  • Tams80 - Monday, May 7, 2018 - link

    Ah yea, the extra 4k monitors I can just throw in my bag and off I go.

    Look, it clearly isn't for you, but for some people it is.

    Why bother getting worked up and angry about something you don't care about?
    Reply

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