Joe Belfiore: Build 2015

Remarks by Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president, Operating Systems Group, on April 29, 2015.

JOE BELFIORE:  All right, good morning!  Hello!  It’s nice to be here at Build with all of you.

So you got a chance to look at how the universal Windows platform is going to enable all of you and tons of other developers to build great, compelling apps.  And what I’m here to do, as Terry said, is to talk about how we’re going to enhance the Windows user experience so that end users on lots and lots of devices, but in particular I’m going to focus on the PC, how end users will be able to discover and engage with all of the apps that you and we write.

We know that great technology for building apps is just part of the story.  You need users to engage with them.  So I want to show you some of the work we’re doing that’s going to make that possible.  And then I’m going to wrap up with one more cool demo of how the universal Windows platform enables new devices and new kinds of actions on devices.  So let me just jump right in and get started.

So I have here a very recent build of Windows 10 for the PC, and I’m going to begin on the Start menu.  And I want to show you some of the work we’ve been doing to continue to tweak the design and improve the visuals and the interaction.

So you’ll see what I’ve got here we think is pretty close to what we expect to have when we’re done, although, of course, we’re going to continue to take feedback from our Insiders.

You’ll notice there’s new beautiful Live Tile animations that help draw people’s attention to the apps and the app data for the things that they’ve pinned.

You’ll notice we’ve cleaned the layout up a bit.

For those of you Insiders who kind of surprised us with your enthusiasm for Windows 7’s aero glass, you’ll notice the translucency here is the blur effect that you saw in Windows 7.  So we’re trying to bring some of that feel back.

We’ve got the most-used apps here.  We’re putting File Explorer, Settings, Power, All Apps at the bottom.

We’re bringing jump lists back in.  So you can see here’s File Explorer with jump lists.  And this will work for other apps as well.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

But the thing I want to sort of focus on a little bit is this space right here, where in this case I haven’t installed an app for a little while.  So the system is going to give a smart suggestion for an app in the store that is going to be one that’s suitable for me.

As I’m using my PC, on the client we know which apps you’re launching and which apps you’re installing, and so we’re able to communicate with the store and bring down suggestions that are personalized for you to help users learn about great new apps that are available for them to try out on their PC.

And as time goes by, we reuse that space in a smart way to help script the user’s discovery of apps first, but then their engagement later.  So if I’ve installed an app, as you see here, for a little while that space becomes the recently installed app.  The user can find the app, they can revisit it.  And if they use it enough, it will move its way into the most-used section automatically.  And of course at any time the user can drag from left to right to take any of those apps and pin them as full Live Tiles.  So think of this as the user’s lifecycle of discovery and engagement and reuse, which we’re trying to script right into the Start menu.

There’s a whole other area that users are engaging with where we want to bring some beauty and new ideas for how they can get value out of their PC experience, and that is the lock screen.  So I want to show you some of what we’re doing on lock to help users discover and engage with the value in the Windows ecosystem.

So imagine you’re a user and this morning you wake up and you turn on your PC or your tablet, and you get this beautiful lock screen.  Well, in this case you’re using our Windows Spotlight feature, which you could choose to use or not on your lock screen, and it provides a service-driven personalized stream of information on your lock screen for you.

And so maybe in a week you’ll wake up and your screen looks a little different.  In this case you say to yourself, man, that is a beautiful and striking imagine.  You’re so enthused by it that you move your mouse to the upper right, click on the hotspot, “Like What You See,” and here’s a place where you have the opportunity to train our service on which things are interesting to you.

In this case I find out this is the Navajo loop switchbacks.  It’s a cool looking trail.  I might vote that I love it, and then I’ll get more images like that.

Time goes by.  One day, you see an image like this.  Now, this is because we are able, as I said, to understand on the client what your use of the PC is and communicate that data to the service to give personally relevant suggestions.

And so I want you to imagine a user who’s had Windows 10 for six weeks or eight weeks, and they haven’t used Cortana yet, they haven’t tried it out.  And because they haven’t tried it out, our service is able to provide the client with a set of options that we can display to help users learn about, discover, and engage with value in the Windows ecosystem.

And in this case you see the image that’s suggestive of Cortana.  There’s a few more hotspots to give you more information.  If you click in the upper left, we’ll give you a preview of what the Cortana UI would be like, and you can click, “Give me a try,” then unlock your PC, we’ll reveal the Cortana user experience, and now you can try it out for yourself.

Keep in mind, this is personalized and it’s informed by what you do on the PC.  So if you’re a power user who’s been using Cortana, you’re not going to see this.

Imagine time goes by.  You get more beautiful images.  Your desktop PC or your tablet always feels fresh with all this great stuff.  And then one morning, you might see an image like this.

As a tablet user you maybe have not tried out all the capabilities of your tablet to do stuff like beautiful artwork using the pen.  And, in fact, here’s an app that gives you that kind of benefit that you haven’t used so far.  And there’s a few extra hotspots to help you learn about it.

When you click in the upper left, the Fresh Paint app that’s in the store is described, and at any time you could choose to click “Get it Now.”  Your PC, you’d unlock your PC, jump right into the store, and then you’d be able to install the app and try it out.

And then a few days go by, and you’re back to seeing your beautiful images.

We call this feature the Windows Spotlight, and it’s optional.  Any user can turn it on with their lock screen, and then get the value of learning about new things in the Windows ecosystem in a way that’s tailored for you and also gets this beautiful stream of images on your lock screen.

So that’s another way that we’re going to help users find and discover value in the Windows ecosystem.

OK, I want to show you yet another part of our user experience that we’ve continued to evolve with feedback from our Insiders, and which has a lot of relevance to users discovering and engaging with apps.  That’s Cortana.

So, of course, we’ve done lots of demos of Cortana.  I’m not going to go through the end- user features of Cortana, but I want to show you a couple of ways that Cortana will assist with engagement.

I should quickly point out there’s some new UI that we have for Cortana that you all haven’t seen yet.  You’ll be getting this in a flight coming up soon.

Over here I have access to the Cortana home — I’ll fold this out so you can see — the notebook, your reminders, your favorite places.  And, of course, here is the Cortana — the place where she gives you proactive suggestions and information based on your interests.  You can see I follow Microsoft stock, I follow the Mariners baseball team, I care about sports news in general, the Seattle Seahawks and so on.  So those are personal interests that I’ve educated Cortana about, which are things that are relevant to me.  And you’ll see how this comes up again later.

Now, one of the really high use cases for that Cortana edit control right there is people typing to ask questions, get information, but also to launch apps.  And we think that’s a great, relevant way to help people discover new value as well.

So imagine I’m running “Star Wars Commander” on my PC, I’ve got it installed and I run it a lot.  I might start typing in to launch the app, and you’ll notice in this case there’s a new “Star Wars Rebels” app in the Star Wars app family, and we’re going to promote right up at the top this new app that’s available for you to install.

Now, I will point out, because you may be sitting there thinking, hmm, that’s not that much promotion; we’ve done some user testing on this, and we’re going to bulk up that store app tile to provide a little bit more information, more along the lines of what you saw in Start.  So we think this is going to be quite a helpful way to discover new apps that are available in the store.

Now, Terry mentioned this, and Satya mentioned the notion that we care about natural user interaction, and we want Cortana to represent a single way for users on Windows to interact with all kinds of capabilities that are built throughout the ecosystem.  So we’re connecting Cortana’s typed natural language and spoken natural language deeply into your apps.

And we’re doing this in two ways.  And this is quite a bit farther than we did with Windows Phone before, so I want to show you the range of sorts of things that are possible.  I want you to imagine in one case, I want to bring up the app to do a task with the app, and in the other case I simply want Cortana to get something done for me using the technology that’s part of an app.  So here’s a couple of examples.

Hey, Cortana, start a chat with Terry Myerson on Viber.

CORTANA:  Starting a chat with Terry Myerson.

JOE BELFIORE:  Now in this case I gave a natural language query.  I said I want to start a chat.  I said it was with Terry.  And I said I wanted her to do it on Viber.  And in this case, she opens up the app.  I’m in my chat context with the previous chatting we were doing, and I can keep going with my chat.  So that’s sort of a deep app launching kind of task.

But then there’s a whole class of tasks where we want Cortana to represent being a personal assistant that can get things done for you even using the capabilities that are written into the app that are part of the Windows ecosystem.  So I can ask Cortana to execute commands in apps and get confirmation right on the canvas.

Hey, Cortana.  Tell Terry Myerson I’m running really late using Viber.

CORTANA:  OK, message Terry Myerson on Viber.  Myerson, I’m running really late.  Sounds good?

JOE BELFIORE:  Yep.  Yes.  Yep.

CORTANA:  Message sent.

JOE BELFIORE:  OK, there we go.  You get the idea here.  Now, in this case I asked Cortana to do something using an app, and in that case the app UI didn’t need to get displayed, and so Cortana’s canvas was able to do the disambiguation.

If I want to I could go right here and click the link to open the app, but that’s not what I need to do.  There’s Cortana helping me get stuff done.

OK, so I’ve talked about the lock screen, the start screen, Cortana.  There’s one other really big feature in Windows 10 that has relevance to this conversation to all of you as developers, and that is Project Spartan.  Project Spartan, Project Spartan.  You know, I have to admit, our PR team has been giving me and us a hard time, because they say it’s not a great idea to keep saying Project Spartan when that’s not really the name of the Web — would you like to hear the name of the new Web browser in Windows 10?

(Audience response.)

OK, let’s run the video.

(Video segment.)

Microsoft Edge is the browser built for Windows 10, and it will be available on the widest range of Windows 10 devices. And for us the name refers to the idea of being on the edge of consuming and creating.  It refers to the developer notion of being closest to the modern capabilities of the Web.  And so it is a browser that end users will think about for getting things done, for things like note-taking on the Internet, for a great way of reading and consuming content.  And it’s a browser that has Cortana built-in, so it learns the things that you care about and helps you get things done.

I’m not going to go show any of that stuff.  We’ve shown that before.  As developers there are a few reasons that you’re going to care about Microsoft Edge.  You’re going to care about the blazing fast core technology that’s inside it.  You’ll hear more about that in a talk tomorrow.  You’re going to care that we’re writing it as a universal Windows app proving out the platform, and you’re also going to care because we’re going to make it help users discover and engage with your apps and your site.

So let me come over here and show you some of what we’re doing there.  And I’m going to come down here to the “E” icon on the taskbar, which now has a completely different and better meaning than it had for a while, and open up Microsoft Edge.

Now the first thing that I want to show you that’s new is the new tab page that we’re adding to Microsoft Edge.  Today in IE the task of starting a new tab and starting new Web browsing happens over a billion times a day.  So this is a heavily used piece of UI.  And you’ll see here how we’re going to take advantage of Cortana’s presence in the browser and understanding of you, along with an understanding of value in the ecosystem to give users a great way to start their Web browsing experience, or discover other things.

So you can see, of course, I can type to enter a Web address, or do a search.  Up here are my top sites and in some cases there’s an app available for these sites in the store.  So we make that discoverable and available.  As I scroll down you’ll see here are some featured apps that we’re showing.  Here’s a lot of news stories that are relevant to me.  In fact, my sports favorites that you saw in Cortana and my stock watch list in Cortana, those are represented right here in the new tab page.  That’s an example of Cortana helping to compose this in a way that’s useful to me.

So that’s new tab.  And we’ve been testing this a ton and we’re optimistic about its opportunity to help people discover and connect with work that you all do on the Web and in apps.  Now, there’s another big thing that we’re doing in Microsoft Edge that has huge relevance to you.  And that is enabling users to engage with your sites and give you a shot at starting to write some Web code, which you may put into an app via Web extensions built into Microsoft Edge.

So I’m going to show you a couple of Web extensions.  This is HTML and JavaScript, Web extensions using Web standards that people have been writing for Firefox and Chrome for quite a while.  We’ve grabbed a couple of these from Chrome with just a few minor modifications and we’re lighting them up right in here in Microsoft Edge.  So the first thing, how many Reddit users do we have?  Yes, come on, you must be Reddit users.  For those of you who are power Reddit users, maybe in some of the other browsers you’ve tried the Reddit Enhancements Suite, which modifies the markup on Reddit to make it easier to find images and scroll pages.  Well, we’ve brought that to Microsoft Edge, as I said, with just a few changes.

So as I scroll down here you’ll see the Web has been altered via this little paw print here that I can use to expand and this little pink nose just kills me, too, as I look at this cute image.  Is that of a cat or a mouse, I don’t even know? And as I scroll down here you’ll see the never-ending Reddit modifies the page to continue to expand it as we go.  It was virtually no work to take this from the Chrome Extensions store and run this — this is standards-based HTML and JavaScript, just running here as part of an extension.

Now another example which certainly matters in terms of user engagement, up here you’ll see we’ve added a Pinterest extension to the browser toolbar and when I click that this is going to interact with the markup on the page to show all of the images that we’ve generated by the Reddit enhancement suite and now I can find tons of things here that are incredibly cute that I might pin to one of the many Pinterest cute animal boards that I and I know all of you keep just for this sort of thing.

So with Microsoft Edge and the new support for these extensions you’ll see how we’re going to enable people to discover and engage with code that you’re propping up on the Web, and as I said, of course, you can bring that into an app, as well.

So you’ve seen for engagement the start screen, the lock screen, you’ve seen Cortana and Microsoft Edge all helping people discover value in the Windows ecosystem.  But, now what I’m going to do is change gears and talk about how the Windows platform and universal Windows apps make devices more valuable to end users.

In general we have a vision and an idea that the Windows platform and apps written for it should be able to flex to different screen sizes and different input methods, not by writing separate code, but by having a platform that’s smart enough to do it, in fact, even dynamically on the same device.  We call this feature Continuum.  It’s a promise to end users made along with our OEM partners that devices can flex.  So I’m going to show you some of the ways that Continuum is evolving and I want to show you some of the ways that your apps can light up a great Continuum experience.

I’m going to start with an eight-inch tablet.  This is a Lenovo ThinkPad.  It’s running full Windows.  It’s got an Intel compatible part.  And the first thing you might notice, of course, I’m going to use this in tablet mode, so you’re looking at tablet mode.  But, for those of you who have paid attention closely and especially if you’ve given us feedback, our touch start in tablet mode we’ve simplified here.

We’ve made the Live Tiles bigger.  This looks very familiar to Windows 8 users.  And the extra stuff your most used list, your sign in, things like File Explorer settings, the power switch, are all over here.  I can navigate to all apps.  All apps are shown nicely in this list.  We now have jump lists working in here in a nice way with animation and so on.  So it’s really easy for me to navigate around my apps.

Of course, down here in the system task switcher I’ve got my task switching button, which I can use to switch between lots of apps.  Here’s Excel.  That’s the Excel for Windows 10.  And what I’m going to do here is jump into Maps.  And I want to do some navigation in the Maps app here.  And I want to show you how this will scale to a more full PC-like experience.

So here I am in my map.  I’m going to go up here and choose the favorites menu, and down here in this panel on the bottom we’re first going to navigate to New York City.  And I want to point out that the system UI now includes a global back button.  So I’ll hit the back button.  The app navigates back, and now we’ll navigate to Tampa.

Now what I’m going to do, think about me using this in a very natural, touch-friendly way, but now since this is a full PC, I’m going to bring it back to my office and I’m just going to dock it in here.  And when I do I want you to notice how the Maps app experience changes to adapt.  The panel that was on the bottom when I was in portrait mode is now on the left side.  And, in fact, when I restore this window, I’ve now got my Excel, I’ve got my PowerPoint, all here running in a familiar way with windows that I can minimize and restore in PC mode.  So that’s an example of Continuum really helping me flex on a small tablet.

The next example I want to show you that’s new is here on this Surface Pro 3, where I have a rich complex Win32 app.  This is Autodesk’s Maya.  It’s a high-end, heavily used, very popular 3-D authoring app.  And if you notice the UI, I’ve got lots of toolbars and palettes.  Down here I’ve got the timeline where I might edit animations of my 3-D character.

But imagine I’m an artist, and so I might use this docked with a big screen keyboard and mouse.  I might use it like this.  But sometimes I’m going to remove the keyboard entirely and use it like a tablet.  And in this case, here’s a Win32 app responding to that change in state in the system and adapting its UI.  And now I can use touch, or I could use the pen to be able to do things like markup right on the character.  Maybe I’m now going to be in this mode where I want to take notes for people on my team, share my thoughts on the character.  The app flexes to take advantage of the use of the pen and touch as opposed to mouse and keyboard, and in that case using Win32.


Now I have one last thing I want to show.  Thank you.  I have one last thing I want to show.  So far we’ve shown this Continuum feature working with our shell and with apps on the PC and watching the PC device flex across these form factors.  But we have a vision that not only the PC can benefit from flexibility in use of input devices and screen sizes.  So, too, can the phone.  And so today we’re excited to show for the first time Continuum for phones built into Windows 10.

So let me give you a look at how that works.  So over here I should point out, we need new hardware for this, and I don’t have that hardware working today.  In fact, we’re going to try a demo of that at a session on Thursday.  So you’re seeing a simulation.  What I’m going to do is connect my phone, and get that going, once I connect my phone, I want you to think of this I’ve got a Bluetooth keyboard, a Bluetooth mouse, and a screen, just a screen, that I’m connecting via HDMI.

So because this phone software has all the core componentry that’s highly shared between the PC, things like Bluetooth keyboard and mice, they’re supported.  And you might notice, I’m not sure if this shot shows this, but at the top of my phone screen now it says “tap for mouse and keyboard controller.”  I could tap that and then get essentially a mouse pad on my phone.  But I don’t need to do that because I have a full Bluetooth mouse and keyboard right here.

Up here on the monitor, you’ll notice this looks very familiar.  It’s the same start menu with tiles I had on my phone now displayed like a start menu, and I’m going to start running apps to give you a sense of how well the phone experience transforms through Continuum to give you a very PC-like experience.

First I’ll launch PowerPoint.  This is the version of PowerPoint that comes with the phone.  And what you see on the big screen here sure looks like the version of PowerPoint that you would see on a PC because, in fact, it is the same code as the version of PowerPoint that you would download from the store and see on a PC.

I can do things like use my mouse and keyboard to create a new slide.  I’m going to go up here and use the ribbon to insert pictures.  Remember, this is my phone.  So as I’m inserting the photos, I bring up my photos, this is the camera roll of my phone and the photos that I’ve synched from OneDrive.  I’ll choose an appropriate desert picture from a trip I’ve made to Utah, and I’ll insert that into my PowerPoint presentation in a completely natural and familiar way using the keyboard and the mouse.

Let’s look at some other examples.  I’m going to click here to go into mail and the Outlook mail client that comes with Windows 10 PCs, and comes with phones, is now viewed and it looks completely familiar.  Here’s my mail folders.  I can choose a message in my inbox and over here I’ll click the reply button where I have the full power of the Word engine embedded right in Outlook for doing replies.  And there is the familiar ribbon.

You can see here Ann is asking me to update the latest expense report.  Eric is going to give me the December expenses.  So I’m going to switch over here to Excel where we are doing our expense reporting and you’ll see here is Excel, the universal Windows app Excel, running on the phone, but looking the same as it would on the PC.

I’ll choose my expense reporting app, and look at this my phone just buzzed, I got a text from Eric right there.  I’m going to click to navigate on my phone screen separately to my text app.  I’ll press and hold to get the context menu and I’ll choose copy, because I’m going to copy from that text right here to my December cell.  And of course, my brain is wired to know the keyboard shortcuts for all these apps, so I will hit control V to paste.  I’ll use my task switcher to come back to the Outlook email client and I can do a quick reply and send.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

Now think about this: With Continuum for phones we believe any screen can be your PC.  Imagine that your company has a touchdown space where anyone can connect their tablet, or their phone, to keyboards mice and screens and then use their apps with their data and the full power of a keyboard and mouse, or imagine you’re on vacation and your hotel room can become a theater where you connect your phone to the screen, you let your kids watch a movie, while you use the second screen to catch up on your email.  Imagine the effect this can have on mobile-first countries, where individuals could be as productive with the phone that they’re buying if they can’t buy a full PC.

So what we’re trying to show here today with Continuum is our unique vision for phones and enabling them to scale up to a full PC-like experience.  And what we have so far is just the first step, because it requires all of you writing these universal Windows apps, whose UI can scale and adjust to different form factors, input types and screen sizes.  As I said, this capability will require new devices that can drive dual screen, and you’ll hear more about them later.

So that is my quick look at how we’re going to help all of you and our end users discover value in the Windows ecosystem, on the lock screen, on the start screen, with Cortana, with Microsoft Edge and how we’re going to enable great new devices with Continuum.  And I’m now excited to introduce to the stage Alex Kipman who is going to tell you even more about some great new devices.

Thanks a lot.