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Microsoft’s Build conference for developers kicked off in San Francisco today, and this morning’s keynote was packed with major news announcements from execs Steve Ballmer, Julie Larson-Green and Antoine Leblond. Here’s a recap:
You can now download a free public preview of Windows 8.1 and get a sneak peek at the latest features and enhancements coming later this year, including the return of the Start button, the ability to boot directly to the desktop, a preview version of Internet Explorer 11, two new Live Tile sizes, a new Mail app and a reimagined search experience powered by Bing. Oh yeah, and built-in 3D printing support that will put “a factory on every desktop,” as Shanen Boettcher of Microsoft’s Startup Business Group put it in a blog post this morning. Yowza. You can read lots more about Windows 8.1 in this post on Blogging Windows. To download the free preview and see it for yourself, head to the official download page.
Windows 8.1 includes built-in support for 3D printing.
On the Windows app front, more of your favorite apps are coming soon to Windows 8, including Flipboard, NFL and Facebook. Bing also unveiled two stunning new apps of its own, Food & Drink and Health & Fitness, both of which are included in the Windows 8.1 preview. These apps and more will be available to consumers in a completely redesigned Windows Store. Developers will also have new tools to help them design, built and monetize their Windows apps, including Visual Studio 2013 and .NET 4.5.1 Previews.
Bing Food & Drink is one of two new Windows 8 apps Bing unveiled today at Build.
Speaking of cool new tools for developers, the Bing team announced that it is opening up more of its APIs and controls to third-party developers, including the Entity API, Optical Character Recognition Control, Translator Control, Speech Control, Text-to-Speech API, and the Bing Maps SDKs. Developers can find and use these services on the new Bing Developer Community site. The Kinect for Windows team also shared new details about its developer kit program for the updated Kinect for Windows sensor and SDK coming soon.
Bing’s new Developer Community site helps developers find and use Bing APIs and controls.
Sprint customers will finally be able to get their hands on Windows Phone 8 devices later this summer. The carrier announced today that the HTC 8XT and Samsung ATIV S Neo will be the first two Windows Phone 8 models available on its 4G LTE network. You can get up close and personal with both phones by checking out today’s Windows Phone Blog post and the press release from Sprint. To sign up for email updates, head to www.sprint.com/windows8.
The HTC 8XT (above) and Samsung ATIV S Neo will be the first Windows Phone 8 devices available for Sprint.
Quite a day, right? For more Build news as it develops (no pun intended), stay tuned to the Microsoft News Center site (which has tons of photos posted here, by the way) and follow @MSFTNews on Twitter.
Steve Wiens Microsoft News Center Staff