SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft figures one way to get people psyched about Windows 10 is to make sure there are plenty of cool features and apps for smartphones and tablets that use the new operating system.
That’s why the tech giant is making its case Wednesday before an army of software developers who may be crucial allies in its campaign to build enthusiasm among consumers for the next version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system, coming later this year.
While Microsoft has already previewed some aspects of the new Windows, a parade of top executives will use Microsoft’s annual “Build” conference to demonstrate more software features and app-building tools, with an emphasis on mobile devices as well as PCs. Ultimately, they’re hoping to win over people who have turned to smartphones and tablets that run on rival operating systems from Google and Apple.
During the three-day conference, Microsoft may also show off new Windows smartphones or other devices and reveal more details about such tech initiatives as the company’s new Spartan web browser; its Siri-like digital assistant known as Cortana; and the HoloLens, a futuristic “augmented reality” headset that projects three-dimensional images in a wearer’s field of vision.
But perhaps most importantly, this year’s conference is an opportunity for Microsoft to persuade an audience of more than 5,000 techies and independent programmers that it’s worth their time to create new apps and programs for Windows 10.
Experts say Microsoft needs a rich variety of apps if it wants to appeal to people who are increasingly using mobile gadgets instead of personal computers.
“Getting developer buy-in is absolutely the crucial thing,” said J.P. Gownder, a tech industry analyst at Forrester Research. He said Microsoft has struggled with a “chicken-and-egg” problem, in which developers have been reluctant to build mobile apps for Windows because relatively few people use Windows phones and tablets.
Microsoft hopes it has solved that problem by designing Windows 10 so it’s easier for developers to build “universal” apps that work on a variety of Windows devices, from phones to PCs and other gadgets, Gownder said.