San Francisco, CA – If your experience with Windows 10 so far has been akin to receiving a UI facelift, that may change very soon.

At Microsoft Build 2016 in San Francisco this week, Microsoft executives including Satya Nadella spent much time onstage gushing over the operating system – fastest ever growing version and whatnot, although adoption has slowed – but that won’t stop them from continuing to revamp on the OS.

Among a slew of cognitive computing announcements, which seem to indicate that Microsoft finally has an answer to IBM Watson, Microsoft also unveiled the Anniversary Update to Windows 10, coming “this summer.” This happens to coincide with around the same time frame as the one-year anniversary of Windows 10’s launch back on July 29, 2015 – hence the name, although the company has not confirmed that is the exact date of the launch.

What it has confirmed, however, is that the update will be big.

“We want to make computing more personal, more contextual using natural language and conversations,” Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Windows and Devices Group said. “We evolved from keyboards and monitors to touch on mobile screens and now to gestures and holograms. We want to immersing ourselves across devices. Windows 10 is our home for this.”

Instead of just PC, the Anniversary Update will be coming – for free – to computers, tablets, mobile devices and the Xbox One, and with it will bring Windows Hello, Ink and enhancements to Cortana.

With Windows Hello, Microsoft demonstrated single signon technology using biometric authentication. Similarly, enhancements to Cortana include making her available at the lock screen as well as removing language restrictions from various geographies, especially from countries with multiple languages.

The company spent much more time on Windows Ink, which will add much more pen capabilities to Windows 10 including the ability to draw in various applications using virtual rulers, take notes that are translated into actionable data such as dates, equations and even animations, and the ability to share everything cross-platform.

But Build is a developer-oriented conference after all. And in this regard, Microsoft did not disappoint.

The anniversary edition will allow Xbox One to become a development platform. This is part of a big push from the company to make Windows 10 the one-stop-shop for developers, and will see tools made available within the Windows 10 Anniversary SDK.

Within this is new native Bash support with access to the Windows file system and open source command line tools, as well as a desktop app converter for Project Centennial, which is capable of converting Win32 and .NET programs into Universal Apps format. With it, developers can make these apps available in the Windows Store.

It seems that the 13 countries that have access to Cortana, including Canada will receive the update.

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  • Sheeva

    Oh no, here we go again. I just fixed an umpteen number of problems with the last Win10 upgrade to several small businesses, family and friends equipment. Thanks MS for keeping me both employed and engaged. Note, at home I primarily use LINUX for my own needs and only have one desktop/one laptop with Windows OS to help support the myriad of “others” who are still on Windows. Also, some have (or will be) moved to LINUX away from Windows – period.