New Windows Edge browser revealed, Windows 10 on 1bn devices, plus Continuum for smartphones

5 things you need to know from the Microsoft Build day 1 keynote

Microsoft revealed fresh Windows 10 info during day one of its Build conference for developers – here’s our roundup of the essential news snippets.

1. Microsoft wants Windows 10 on one billion devices by 2018

"Today we shared our bold goal – to see Windows 10 on one billion devices within two to three years of Windows 10’s availability – the first platform version, in any ecosystem, to be available on one billion devices," said Microsoft’s executive VP of operating systems Terry Myerson.

"We will accomplish this by delivering Windows 10 with a free upgrade offer, making it easy for customers and businesses to upgrade quickly, and with great new devices (which we haven’t discussed yet)."

A specific release date hasn’t yet been revealed, but Microsoft has said Windows 10 will launch in the summer.

2. Microsoft Edge is replacing Internet Explorer

Microsoft announced the name of its new browser for Windows 10 will be Microsoft Edge (previously known as Project Spartan).

It features built-in note taking and sharing, a reading pane ‘for no distractions’, better app ‘discoverability’ and integration with Siri-like Cortana.

"We chose the name Microsoft Edge as it reflects our commitment to developers to deliver a browser that lives at the edge of modern web standards and security. Microsoft Edge is a browser built for doing," added Myerson.

3. Continuum can turn your smartphone into a PC (sort of)

With this Universal Windows Platform, developers can create a single app that can be used across the different Windows 10-compatible devices. Each app adapts to different screen sizes, and can feature Cortana and Xbox Live integration, as well as holograms using Microsoft HoloLens.

"Previously, we’ve demonstrated how Universal Windows apps and the Windows shell transition seamlessly between tablet and PC modes. Today, we showed how Universal Windows apps and Continuum for phones enables a screen to become like a PC," says Myerson.

There’s more info on Continuum here.

4. Cortana is "taking over" in new Windows 10 build

Microsoft has made available its Windows 10 Insider preview build 10074, including better integration with virtual assistant Cortana.

The latest version features general user interface improvements, including a new ‘Live Tile’ animation for Start and better support for high DPI displays. Microsoft is bringing back Aero Glass from Windows 7, with transparency on the Start menu and taskbar.

There’s been a visual refresh for Cortana. 

"As you start to search for an app from within Start, Cortana can seamlessly take over and bring back the right result," said Microsoft’s Gabe Aul. "The new Windows split view control has been added to Cortana’s left rail, offering quick access to key Cortana functionality like the Notebook, Reminders or Feedback on how Cortana’s doing. This split view control helps anchor Cortana to the rest of the Windows UI and provides navigation consistent with many other Windows first party applications."

The Xbox app for Windows 10 has also been updated with new features like Game DVR for PC games, screenshots, a Live Tile, user profiles, and real-name sharing.

5. Microsoft targets $20bn annual cloud revenue

Microsoft is hoping to generate $20 billion in annual revenue from its cloud computing businesses by the end of its fiscal 2018, said CEO Satya Nadella said on Wednesday, as reported by Reuters.

Last week Microsoft announced growth in its commercial cloud revenue, which currently stands at $6.3 billion per year.

Microsoft’s commercial cloud revenue grew 106 per cent in its financial Q3 driven by Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM Online.

More info

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