Microsoft Build 2013 preview

Microsoft Build 2013 preview

At next week’s Build 2013 conference, Microsoft are expected to introduce their newest products. They’re following in the footsteps of Apple and Google, who recently made exciting announcements about things like iOS 7 and a new version of Google Maps. At the Build conference, we’re looking forward to news about Windows 8.1, but we’re also hoping Microsoft has a few other surprises up its sleeve…

Windows 8.1

The star of the show is expected to be the first-ever update to Windows 8. Microsoft will release a preview of Windows 8.1 and we’re expecting big changes, as we’ve already heard a lot about the planned details of the release.

Besides the typical bug fixes and visual improvements, Windows 8.1 is expected to herald the return of the start button after a litany of complaints. You’ll be able to download the preview from Softonic as soon as it is made available.

Windows Phone 8 GDR2 Update

We’re also expecting an update for Windows Phone 8. Microsoft released a small update last winter known as GDR1. As with Windows 8, Microsoft has already released information about this update, but has already told us that it’s planning a more extensive update for fall. We also think it’s likely that the update could include improvements to Office Mobile.

A global Windows Store for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8

There’s a possibility that Microsoft will release the first-ever Global Windows Store at Build 2013. We already know that a new Windows Store is coming, the question now is whether or not it will be global. So far, the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store run totally separately, and the Windows Store doesn’t even have a home page that you can visit via a browser. You can access individual app pages by typing the address directly, but it’s hardly the most user-friendly approach!

New Office RT apps

Microsoft has already let us know that Microsoft Office RT will be joined by RT offsets of Outlook, Access, Publisher, InfoPath and Skydrive Pro in 2013. As things stand now, Office RT only includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The question we want an answer to is whether these apps will be free to access, or whether Microsoft will package then as a paid premium version.

Screenshots from Outlook RT can already be found online. There are rumors that it’s actually been around for a while, but that due to battery drain issues, they haven’t been able to make it public. Let’s hope that’s been fully sorted before the app is launched – battery drain is a real deal-breaker!

Office apps optimized for tablets

We’re also hoping that Microsoft announces a few new Office apps for tablets. As it stands, Office 2013 isn’t great on touchscreen devices, but OneNote has already shown us that there are better ways to do things. We’re expecting Microsoft to want to make Windows 8 and Windows RT particularly appealing to business customers, as office apps and business customers mean more money in the bank.

Internet Explorer for Windows 7

Internet Explorer 11 is expected as part of Windows 8.1‘s standard repertoire and has already been spotted in early leaks of the build. As we saw with its predecessor, we might also see a customized version of IE 11 for Windows 7 – perhaps Microsoft’s already working on a 2013 preview?

Visual Studio 2013

We’re also pretty sure that we’ll see a Visual Studio 2013 preview at the BUILD event. Visual Studio is an app that supports the creation of Windows applications and dynamic websites with a variety of programming languages.

So, what do you think? Think that Microsoft’s announcements will rival Apple and Google’s recent events?

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