Microsoft spent three hours today showing developers where it's going in the next few months, and beyond. As usual, its annual Build conference was chock full of code demos, but the company also spent its time showing off the next update to Windows Phone, which features a voice assistant named Cortana. The new tool shares the same name and voice of the AI character from Bungie's Halo series, and lets you search Bing and do things on your phone with your voice. It's playing catchup to voice assistants found on smartphones from Apple, Google, and Samsung, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Updates for Windows Phone and Windows
The presentation also brought a demo of Windows 8.1 Update, a free collection of tweaks and changes going out to Windows 8.1 users next week. Some of those new features include booting users to the desktop instead of to the Start Screen, and generally making the OS more friendly to traditional mouse and keyboard users who were neglected when Microsoft put more emphasis on touchscreens. Microsoft also hinted at what's to come in the next major version of Windows, though was scant on new details, short of saying the Start menu would be making a return.
Those were just a few of the things covered in the three-hour keynote. You can watch it all in a supercut below.