What to expect at Build 2014: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1 Update 1, and more

What to expect at Build 2014: Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1 Update 1, and more

Microsoft's highly anticipated Build 2014 Developer Conference is set to take place in San Francisco on April 2nd and will last until the 4th. While the weather is expected to be partly cloudy on April 2nd, developers and consumers around the world will be luminous, excited, and looking forward to what Microsoft has in store at the sold-out event.

Microsoft is expected to unveil Windows Phone 8.1, the next big update to Windows Phone 8, sometime during the event. Windows Phone 8.1 is set to bring an action center, a Siri-like voice assistant called 'Cortana' and much more. Other features include a password manager for Internet Explorer, the ability to view emails offline, better battery management, on-screen navigation support, and much more. 

Microsoft has already said that Windows Phone 8.1 will be made available to any device currently running Windows Phone 8. Here's our hands on video of a leaked Windows Phone 8.1 build, showcasing some of the new features in action:

Microsoft acquired Nokia's devices and services division back in September of 2013 for a whopping sum of $7.2 billion. Microsoft is expected to complete the deal sometime in April, and perhaps we might hear about it during the event.

Microsoft is also expected to unveil Windows 8.1 Update 1. We've seen leaked builds and details about the update, which adds improved functionality for consumers who are using a mouse and keyboard. Update 1 brings along a new context UI menu for the Start Screen, quick access to the Power and Search buttons on the Start Screen, familiar window controls for Modern UI apps, and easier multitasking between Modern and Desktop applications with the taskbar.

Under the hood changes include reduced hardware requirements, meaning the operating system can now run on hardware with as low as 1GB RAM and 16GB storage. Microsoft is expected to release the update to MSDN on April 2nd, with general availability on April 8th via Windows Update during April's Patch Tuesday.

Microsoft also touched on DirectX 12 during the Games Developer Conference (GDC) a couple weeks ago, and perhaps the company will further showcase the new gaming API at Build. DirectX 12 has been redesigned to be faster and more efficient than ever before, boosting overall performance.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, during his Office for iPad announcement, promised that "Windows will innovate" and the company is expected to talk about "innovations in the operating system and innovations in devices" at the Build 2014 event.

Microsoft likely has other details in store for us during the event and the company is also expected to have a live stream of the event, which we will provide to you once it becomes available. What announcement are you most looking forward to?

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