So earlier today Australia time the Microsoft Build 2014 conference kicked off with lots of new announcements. If you haven’t watched the 3 hour keynote and are interested to know what was covered here’s a quick summary of the presentation.

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Windows Phone 8.1

Cortana: The Windows Phone personal assistant revealed. Uses Bing at it’s core and is different that competitor products in that it is able to better understand users as opposed to just being a voice command system. The Verge’s The story of Cortana, Microsoft’s Siri killer.

*Notification Centre: *Windows Phone now finally has a notification centre

*Wi-Fi Sense: *With Wi-Fi Sense users are automatically able to connect to trustworthy Wi-Fi networks that are within range, allow WP8 users to share their routers Wi-Fi connectivity details without sharing passwords.

Enterprise VPN integration: Windows Phone 8.1 makes it easier to connect to corporate VPNs and have phone profiles/apps managed by corporate policies and controls.

*Skype Update: *The updated Skype app in Windows Phone 8.1 is better integrated into the phone and can allow you to convert standard voice calls on the phone to Skype video calls.

Word-Flow Keyboard: WP8.1 has an updated keyboard which currently the record for the fastest phone keyboard

Release Date: Windows Phone 8.1 will be released with new devices in April/May, will roll out to other devices over the next few months

IE11

IE 11 will be updated with an Enterprise Mode feature which will be similar to Compatibility view and will make IE11 behave as if it was IE8

Windows 8.1 (updates)

Metro on Desktop, new context menus: Windows 8.1 is getting many updates including ability to run Metro apps from the desktop and the introduction of new contextual menus to make it easier to access some windows features as well as simpler access to the Windows Store. To see all the changes in detail check out Paul Thurrot’s Windows 8.1 Update 1 Review.

Software Development

Universal Windows Apps: With all the changes going on at Microsoft, the company is trying to help developers build applications that work on all form factors. During the keynote address they introduced Universal Windows Apps which aims to help developers achieve this.

WinJS: The Windows Modern UI/Metro WinJS libraries are going cross platform and open-source.

Check out David Burela’s Build 2014 Day 1 keynote summary for more dev. items.

Office

A couple of weeks ago Microsoft released office for the iPad, well, the touch version of Office is coming to Windows also, and in better form.

Windows RT Brokered Components

Using the Windows RT Brokered components developers can leverage existing legacy code in Metro apps.

Miscellaneous Announcements

Universal Apps System to run on Xbox

Kinect V2 is coming to Windows

Direct X12 coming to X-Box One

The Start menu is coming back in future versions of Windows

Windows will be free on some tablet sizes (smaller screens)

Several Nokia Phone announcements such as the Lumia 930, 630 (Dual SIM) and Nokia 635

Nokia to Bring Windows Phone 8.1 to all Lumia devices including low-end phones such as the Lumia 520

Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 phones will all get Windows Phone 8.1 including the low-endish 520

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s Q&A with Developers

Following all the announcements, information and demos by all the speakers at the Build 2014 keynote, Satya Nadella, the newly appointed Microsoft CEO came on stage for a Q&A session with developers. It was a nice way to wrap up the keynote and gave a nice portrayal of a friendly Microsoft. Well done on a great keynote and despite not being there physically, I look forward to following the rest of the conference.