In this edition of The Midweek Download, the first of 2012, we’ve got stories about Kinect for Windows, new markets for Windows Phone developers and a few new posts from Building Windows 8. Check ‘em out!

Kinect for Windows coming Feb. 1. Earlier this week at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced that the new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on Feb. 1 in 12 countries (the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom), at a suggested retail price of US $249. Kinect for Windows hardware will be available, in limited quantities at first, through a variety of resellers and distributors. The price includes a one-year warranty, access to ongoing software updates for both speech and human tracking, and our continued investment in Kinect for Windows-based software advancements. Later this year, we will offer special academic pricing (planned at US $149) for Qualified Educational Users. For the rest of this story, read this Monday post on the Kinect for Windows Blog.

New markets for Windows Phone developers. We’re pleased to start off the New Year with an update to App Hub that will enable you to distribute apps and games to even more customers in more markets. App Hub now allows you to submit apps for distribution in 6 new markets; Argentina, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peru and the Philippines. Although you will be able to now select these markets for distribution in App Hub, the Windows Phone Marketplace is not yet available to customers in these markets. We will provide more information about availability of the Marketplace for customers in these markets in a future post. For more detail on this development, read this Jan. 5 post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

Refresh and reset your PC. Many consumer electronic devices these days provide a way for customers to get back to some predefined “good” state. This ranges from the hardware reset button on the back of a wireless network router, to the software reset option on a smartphone. We’ve built two new features in Windows 8 that can help you get your PCs back to a “good state” when they’re not working their best, or back to the “factory state” when you’re about to give them to someone else or decommission them. Today, there are many different approaches and tools to get a PC back to factory condition. To get the rest of this story, read this Jan. 4 post on Building Windows 8.

And one more from Building Windows 8. In this Jan. 5 post on Building Windows 8, Rajeev Nagar, a group program manager, dives into a feature in the Windows 8 Developer Preview known as Storage Spaces, which is designed to dramatically improve how you manage large volumes of storage at home (and work). Don’t miss it.

CSS corner: Using the whole font. With cross-browser support for both the CSS3 @font-face rule and the WOFF font packaging format, modern Web typography has expanded far beyond the realm of ‘Web-safe fonts.’ Well-known magazines such as the New Yorker use Web fonts to preserve the typographic personality of their headlines, while [US] President Obama’s re-election campaign uses Web font service Typekit to host their identity font. One remaining limitation prevents Web designers from using the entire font: the inability to access the large variety of optional OpenType® features built into many fonts. For more on this story, read this Monday post on the IEBlog.

New Windows Azure Community News Roundup launches. Sometimes it can be a challenge to stay on top of the latest news, content and conversations about cloud computing and Windows Azure. That’s why we’re launching the Windows Azure Community News Roundup series on this blog. Every week, we will post a snapshot of the freshest community-driven content and resources from the previous week. In this first post, we’ve covered the past two weeks worth of interesting articles, posts and tweets. Read this Monday post on the Windows Azure Team Blog to see the entire roundup.

Windows Azure Libraries for Java available. Good news for all you Java developers out there: we are happy to share with you the availability of Windows Azure libraries for Java that provide Java-based access to the functionality exposed via the REST API in Windows Azure Service Bus. You can download the Windows Azure libraries for Java from GitHub. For more information, read this Monday post on the interoperability @ microsoft blog.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download! Thanks for stopping by and see you here next week!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog