Microsoft made a couple of announcements at day two of their Build 2017 conference, including ones about Windows, Xbox, and more.
Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
It’s only been a few weeks since the spring Windows 10 Creators update was released and Microsoft is already talking about the next update coming this fall. The Fall Creators Update will build upon the features in the spring update but will also add support for Windows Mixed Reality.
Some of the other new features coming with Fall Creators Update include, Timeline which will allow you to jump back in time to find what you were working on. It’s all displayed in a visual timeline and with a just one click, can go back into files and apps and site as if you never left.
The next feature has to do with Cortana, you’ll be able to pick up where you left off across all your devices including Windows, iOS and Android. For example, if you were working on a document on your Windows PC and then you log off, then the document will pop on your smartphone, so you can keep working.
Microsoft is also making the Clipboard even better, you’ll now be able to copy and paste between your devices, whether its your PC or your phone. Just copy and paste on one device and using the cloud, you’ll be able to paste it onto another device.
OneDrive Files On-Demand will allow users to access their files in the cloud without having to search for them, download them and have them take up storage space on your device. You’ll also be able to right-click on a file and say keep on this device, so it’s there forever.
With the Fall Creators Update, it also brings Microsoft’s Fluent Design System which “will deliver intuitive, harmonious and responsive and inclusive cross-device experiences and interactions.
Microsoft also introduced a new app that will be coming with the new update called Windows Story Remix. The app uses AI and deep learning to organize and transform your photos and videos into stories. It also uses the Microsoft Graph, so you can connect with your friends and family.
Story Remix can combine your photos and videos with your friends’, along with a soundtrack, theme and cinematic transitions. You’ll also be able to add 3D objects to your photos and videos.
Microsoft also announced that there are more than 500 million Windows 10 devices and they should all be able to get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
They also announced that the new design system will be making its way to Xbox One with a more translucent interface.
Windows Mixed Reality
Microsoft seems to be going all in on virtual reality and augmented reality with their Windows Mixed Reality platform. The upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update will let users experience mixed reality
Probably the biggest announcement regarding Windows Mixed Reality was the availability of the first dev kits from Acer and HP. The Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset Developer Edition is now available from the Microsoft Store for $399 CAD while HP’s headset will go for $449 CAD, both headsets will ship in August.
Both headsets have similar specs:
- Two high-resolution liquid crystal displays at 1440 x 1440
- Front hinged display
- 95 degree horizontal field of view
- Display refresh rate up to 90 Hz (native)
- Built-in audio out and microphone support through 3.5mm jack
- Single cable with HDMI 2.0 (display) and USB 3.0 (data) for connectivity
- Inside-out tracking
- 4.0 meter cable
- (HP’s headset only) Double-padded headband and easy adjustment knob for all day comfort
Microsoft also announced the first Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers which unlike the controllers for the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, these won’t need any special markers to be able to use.
The new controllers will enhance a user’s mixed reality experience by offering precise and responsive tracking of motion by using the sensors in your headset. Device partners such as HP, Acer and more will release their own motion controls later this year.
According to MSPoweruser, Microsoft also teased that new Xbox Avatars in a virtual reality environment, and that mixed reality devices would be coming to the “Xbox Family” in 2018.
As for the recommended PC specs to be able to use a Window Mixed Reality headset, you’ll need the following:
- Desktop: Intel Desktop Core i7 (6+ Core) OR AMD Ryzen 7 1700 (6 Core, 12 threads)
- Desktop: NVIDIA GTX 980/1060, AMD Radeon RX 480 (2GB) equivalent or greater DX12 and WDDM 2.2 capable GPU
- Drivers: Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 2.2
- Thermal Design Power: 15W or greater
- Headset connectors: 1x available graphics display port for headset (HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 for 60Hz headsets, HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 for 90Hz headsets)
- Resolution: SVGA (800×600) or greater
- Bit depth: 32 bits of color per pixel
Memory: 16 GB of RAM or greater
Storage: >10 GB additional free space
- 1x available USB port for headset (USB 3.0 Type-A). USB must supply a minimum of 900mA.
- Bluetooth 4.0 (for accessory connectivity)
Windows 10 S
Microsoft announced a few more apps that will be making their way to the Windows Store, in addition to Spotify, iTunes will be coming to the Windows Store. There will also be added support for iPhones and other Apple products with Windows 10 S and in the next Windows 10 update.
AutoDesk will be supporting Windows Mixed Reality with an update for their AutoDesk Stingray app in the Windows Store.
Making Windows home for all developers
Microsoft is making a big push to bring more developers to Windows. By announcing a new tool called Xamarin Live Player, it will let PC user to test and debug their iOS app without the need for a Mac. The Player is built-into Visual Studio, so you’ll just need to download VS and an iPhone to get started building native iOS apps.
Microsoft also announced .NET Standard 2.0 for UWP and XAML Standard, both of which are coming to Windows 10 later this year. Also developers can take advantage of Windows and the Microsoft Graph by using Project Rome for UWP, Android and iOS.
They also announced that they’re simplifying the install process for Ubuntu by bringing it the Windows Store. The company is also working with SUSE Linux and Fedora Linux to get them running on the Windows Subsystem for Linux and also bring them to the Windows Store.
Microsoft says that Windows is the only platform that can run Windows apps and Linux apps side-by-side. You can learn more about it here.