Microsoft Build 2022: Expectations for Teams, Edge and Windows

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Unlike Google and Apple, Microsoft Build is usually geared towards being a developer-heavy event. That means more programming and developer sessions on stage and fewer Surface announcements. However, you can expect to hear new information about how developers can build experiences for Windows and the other Microsoft 365 services like Microsoft Teams.

At last year’s Build conference, Microsoft teased what we now know as Windows 11 and unveiled several big features for Teams and Microsoft Edge.

We’re expecting a little bit of the same again this year, and here are some highlights to watch out for.

How to look at Microsoft Build

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Participation in Microsoft Build is free this year and due to the pandemic it is a purely virtual event. You can Register online to listen to or watch various keynotes. The main keynote begins May 24th at 8:00am PST. Microsoft has a webpage dedicated to streaming this keynote.

Expect to hear from Satya Nadella in this keynote. Microsoft specifically mentions that the CEO will explain how “Microsoft is creating new opportunities for developers on our platforms.”

Updates or new features for Windows 11

Windows 11 Phone Link on a Dell XPS laptop.
Dung Caovn/Unsplash

Windows 11 is the future for Microsoft, even if Windows 10 will be around until 2025. The operating system has reached wide deployment status, which means almost anyone can now try it on supported PCs. However, we are waiting for Microsoft to announce Windows 11 related features and updates on Build 2022.

At the top of our list is a major update to the widgets experience in Windows 11. Based on a tweet from a Microsoft leaker, we think third-party widgets could be on the way for the operating system soon.

We also heard from Windows Central that developers have already been informed of how third-party widgets might work. So what better time to announce it than Microsoft Build, where developers take center stage?

The Widgets experience in Windows 11.
Arif Bacchus/ Digital Trends

That being said, there could be big news about the next major update for Windows 11. We say this because Microsoft recently made an interesting move in the Windows Insider program to “merge” the beta and dev test channels to get the same builds of Windows – only to have both in the weeks leading up to Microsoft Build split again.

The merger was rumored to be a way for Microsoft to test the first unveiled update to Windows 11 for quality with a wide audience, though the company has never confirmed this. An additional Tweet from a Microsoft leaker the suggestion that this update could be RTM soon adds to the speculation. RTM is usually when Microsoft is ready to declare a specific Windows build for release for laptop makers (although it doesn’t do that much anymore).

With the two major Windows 11 testing channels now splitting up and RTM coming on day one of the build, there could be a window for Microsoft to announce the first update to Windows 11.

It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but we believe the update will bring multiple features. Start menu folders, tablet mode tweaks, a new task manager, improved search, and live subtitles are just a few things confirmed for the first major Windows 11 update during the build.

The improved Windows 11 task manager app.

Microsoft has repeatedly mentioned that most of these features are coming to Windows “soon,” most recently at an April “Windows Powers the Future of Hybrid Work” event.

We’re also hoping to hear more about tabs in File Explorer, which Microsoft hasn’t talked about much since it was first revealed in April.

There are currently 51 different Windows sessions planned for Build in different languages, including one with Windows chief Panos Panay scheduled for later on May 24th.

New features for Microsoft Teams

An ongoing video call in Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams is booming due to the pandemic and the rise of hybrid work. However, we expect Microsoft to talk a lot about Teams during Build 2022. Microsoft recently reported As of January 2022, Teams has 270 million monthly active users, so Build is a great opportunity to show developers what they can build apps and services for this massive Teams audience.

Last year’s build mentioned APIs for Together mode, Fluid Components. Now that Teams is also available on Windows 10 and Windows 11 in the Microsoft Store, there’s another reason for the company to treat Teams even bigger. As far as we know, Microsoft might even be talking about Teams in the Metaverse.

There are well over 100 build sessions where Microsoft Teams is mentioned by name. Some include Conversational Apps in Microsoft Teams, Build Interactive Meeting Apps for Microsoft Teams, and Reach 270 million users and grow your business with Microsoft Teams.

The new Outlook app for Windows

The One Outlook app in Windows 11.

Microsoft has been working on a new version of Outlook for Windows for some time. The year 2020 saw MacOS is getting a new Outlook app, and we hope to hear more about the new features coming for a new One Outlook app for Windows at the build.

Microsoft has actually already confirmed that the new app will be tested with Office Insiders in the beta channel, but it won’t be too surprising if breakout sessions at Build also mention the app.

In summary, the new Outlook client is streamlined and more efficient, based on the Outlook.com experience, but also with cool features like Sweep, pinned items, meeting coordination, a calendar board, and integrations with Microsoft To Do.

There are currently seven sessions total for Outlook at Build. The most interesting seem to be “Relevant notifications for Microsoft 365 and Windows” and “Extending Teams apps to Office and Outlook”.

More on Microsoft’s Android efforts?

The Microsoft Surface Duo 2 rests on a banister because: right-angled.
Adam Doud/Digital Trends

Microsoft has been rumored to have formed a new organization called Android Microsoft Platform and Experiences (AMPX). With that in mind, we’re wondering if Microsoft’s build will be more focused on Android experiences this year. A quick search reveals seven sessions dedicated to Android, so let’s keep an eye out for Microsoft on Android news as well.

We hope to learn more about the Windows Subsystem for Android and running Android apps on Windows 11. Other things we hope to hear could be operating system updates or more on how developers can create Android apps for the Surface Duo 2.

Sessions on “Bringing Android Apps to Windows” and “Developing Windows Apps on and for a Rich Ecosystem of Platforms and Devices” help kick-start us.

More on the Metaverse

A meeting that takes place in the Metaverse.

The Metaverse is the next big thing for all major tech giants, so we won’t be surprised to hear Microsoft talk about it during the build. A The leaked session indicated that Microsoft planned to highlight Teams integrations with the Metaverse, so we’re hoping there might be more on that. In the past, the company has also talked about its vision to work alongside Microsoft Mesh in the metaverse. These are all issues that might come up again during the build.

A special session entitled “Microsoft Build Into Focus: Preparing for the Metaverse” could delve deeper into these plans.

New hardware?

Last year Microsoft announced the Snapdragon Developer Kit.

It’s rare for Microsoft to talk about physical hardware during builds, but we’re hoping that could change this year. We know that Microsoft’s partner Lenovo will release the new Snapdragon 8cX Gen 3 ThinkPad X13s later this year. After the company jumped on ARM last year by enabling 64-bit app emulation in Windows, we wonder if there might be new Microsoft or partner hardware that supports it.

Microsoft announced this last year So Snapdragon Developer Kit, which is similar to Apple’s Mac mini Developer Kit, we wonder if a successor might be in the works to support the development of ARM-based Windows 11 apps. It’s just a wild guess, however, as we’ve had no indication of any new ARM-based hardware from Microsoft itself. That usually comes in the fall during Surface events.

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