Microsoft outlines launch of smarter features and devices in 2019

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]uring the five-day long conference ‘Ignite’ technology in Orlando, Florida, Microsoft will be launching new products and solutions for developers and IT professionals worldwide.

Microsoft is teaming up with Adobe and SAP to create a single model for representing customer data that businesses will be able to move between systems.

On Monday, during his opening keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made some important announcements ranging from Slack-rival Teams to universal search platform that will rival Google.

Microsoft Search to rival Google

Microsoft is building a universal search for all its products. ‘Microsoft Search’ will be a unified search bar in Bing, Office apps, Windows, Teams for personal users and organisations. It will give personalised results combining traditional search results, local files, and commands, among others.

Microsoft Search will initially be available for Bing and Office.com, and in SharePoint and Outlook smartphone apps. It will roll out to Windows 10 and Office desktop apps later in 2019.

Microsoft Teams gets bokeh in video

Microsoft’s Slack competitor, Teams is getting new features. Users can now blur their background during a video call on Teams. This feature has started rolling out for users. Microsoft is also introducing video recording feature for users which will automatically create transcripts of meetings.

Microsoft also revealed that currently 239,000 organisations are using Teams. Earlier, in July, Microsoft had released a free version of Teams, which was available previously with Office 365 subscription only.

MS Office 2019 comes with smart features

Microsoft has announced the roll-out of Office 2019 for Windows and Mac. Microsoft Office 2019 has upgrades for – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Project, Visio, Access, and Publisher. Office 2019 is released specifically for users who haven’t subscribed to Office 365 Pro Plus. It includes features which have been added to Office 365 Pro Plus within the last three years.

Some features include ‘Morph’ and ‘Zoom’ in PowerPoint 2019, a roaming pencil case, pressure sensitivity and tilt effects. New data analysis features are added to Excel 2019, while Word 2019 and Outlook 2019 have features like ‘Read Aloud’ and ‘Text Spacing’.

Microsoft Surface Hub 2

Earlier this year, Microsoft had announced its second-generation Surface Hub, Microsoft’s massive whiteboard displays. And at the Ignite conference, the Surface Hub 2 was demonstrated for the first time. The demonstration started with rotating the Surface Hub 2’s screen with the content remaining intact. It will launch in Q2 2019.

A fingerprint sensor is embedded below the monitor through which one or more users can login at the same time and pull up their saved tasks. It also allows users to drag data from one app to the other asimultaneously. These features will be available through a software update, Suface Hub 2X later in 2020.

The price of Surface Hub 2 in 2019 is yet to be announced.

LinkedIn integration with Microsoft Outlook, Office apps

Outlook users will be able to access information of their LinkedIn contacts through this integration. It will also allow Outlook users to work with their LinkedIn contacts through Word, Excel and PowerPoint. LinkedIn users can co-author documents on Office apps. But Microsoft hasn’t announced a release date for this roll-out yet.

MS teams up with Razer for Xbox One

Microsoft is enabling keyboard and mouse support on the Xbox One. Select Xbox testers will be able to trial this new support in the coming weeks. Microsoft is teaming up with Razer so Xbox One users can purchase hardware that taps into the company’s Chroma lighting effects. Most wired and wireless USB keyboards and mice will work on the Xbox One, and developers can support this in games.

“Mouse and keyboard input is not enabled by default for games,” explains Jason Ronald, director of program management for Xbox. “Each development team knows their titles best and we support them in creating the right experience for their games as they see fit, to ensure an optimal and fair gaming experience.”