Microsoft's Build Conference for the year, held in San Francisco, as expected, has seen some groundbreaking advancements in a number of fields related to software and platform upgradation. But primarily, Microsoft has unveiled its plans for the Windows platform for the upcoming future.
The event has already seen the arrival of Cortana, the new voice controlled assistant for Windows Phone, number of universal apps that run on every Microsoft device, including the new Xbox One, alongside a free version of the operating system for handheld devices.
But this is just the first day of the event we are talking about, and already we have a number new announcements and products introduced to us. Now there are hopes that even more will be revealed by the Redmond-based company later down the line.
So what are major talking points out of the first successful day at the Microsoft Build Conference 2014? Heres's a quick look at the five most important key points out of the conference that we ought to remember.
The Return of the Start Menu
How many of us have missed the popular Windows-based Start Menu with the arrival of the Windows 8? We are guessing quite a few. Thankfully enough, it seems like Microsoft also thinks in similar wavelengths and has now decided to bring back the Start Menu to its OS.
At its Build conference, Microsoft announced a new Start Menu that looks more of less like a hybrid of the one that was offered for Windows 7 and Windows 8 -- combining the best of both. It's somewhere similar to the size of the Windows 7 menu, and also features miniature Live Tiles along one side.
Lumias! Lumias Everywhere
Microsoft also took this oppertunity to introduce us to not one, but three new Lumia devices -- the Nokia Lumia 930, the Nokia Lumia 635 and the Nokia Lumia 630.
"Today we are introducing people to the best of Lumia and the best of Microsoft through three stunning devices based on Windows Phone 8.1. In addition to the new developments from Microsoft, Nokia is delivering people an uncompromised imaging experience, great design and better business phones," said Stephen Elop, executive vice president of Nokia's Devices & Services.
"We're also pleased to bring the great developments in Windows Phone 8.1 to the Lumia devices people love today."
The Nokia Lumia 930, a flagship Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone, delivers the best of Microsoft and Lumia for the ultimate video and imaging experience.
The Nokia Lumia 630 comes in two variants and introduces more choice as the first Lumia with dual-SIM, targeted for growing markets like China and India. Also the Nokia Lumia 635 and Nokia Lumia 630, according to the company, offers a great Windows Phone 8.1 experience, while bringing Microsoft and Lumia innovations to more affordable prices.
Cortana Comes to Life
Remember all those rumors and leaks in the recent past talking about how Microsoft was looking to introduce the Cortana Voice assistant in the same page as that of Siri? Well, the rumors have indeed come to life with the eventual arrival of Cortana.
Cortana is basically Microsoft's answer to Apple's Siri, Samsung's S Voice, and all the other voice assists software suites that are currently available for download out there. The feature basically allows you to manage several phone functions, perform searches, and even play music.
Also, similar to Google Now, Cortana keeps in mind all the web searches you perform and the locations you visited to try and provide contextually sensitive and timely information.
Microsoft Universal Apps
The world is a small place, and so is the Windows platform in recent times, in terms of universal connectivity. And that fact has been brought into light even more with the release of universal Windows apps.
So it's basically one single app that works across Windows phones, tablets, PCs, and the Xbox One. "All of us want the same app experiences across all devices," David Treadwell, a Microsoft operating system executive said while introducing users to the new type of apps. "Yet today there's no easy way to create apps that work across all form factors."
Microsoft's tools will allow developers to tweak an app's interface based on both its form factor that it's running on and whether it's being used with or without a mouse and keyboard.
Microsoft has unveiled a new version of Office that provides each of its apps a certain mode that has been built around the use of a touchscreen -- a feature that their predecessors lacked.
Currently known as "a preview of a work in progress," the feature looks more or less like the Office that was unveiled for the iPad just last week.