In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on the launch of Windows Server 2012, Kinect for Windows coming to China, new Windows 8 devices and the first wave of Xbox LIVE games coming to Windows 8.

Windows Server 2012 is here...And so is the Cloud OS. Tuesday’s launch of Windows Server 2012 puts a spotlight on the transformational shift underway across the entire IT ecosystem. This transformation is being driven by an exponential growth of devices used for smarter, more personalized applications, which in turn create an explosion of data and the need for more computing power. It is a world of connected devices and continuous services, and it’s all powered by servers. For more on this story, read this post from Server & Tools Business President Satya Nadella on The Official Microsoft Blog and this press release on the Microsoft News Center.

Kinect for Windows coming to China. On Oct. 8, Kinect for Windows is coming to China. China is a leader in business and technology innovation. We are very excited to make Kinect for Windows available in China so that developers and businesses there can innovate with Kinect for Windows and transform experiences through touch-free solutions. Kinect for Windows hardware will be available in six additional markets later this fall: Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Poland. Get the rest of this story over on the Kinect for Windows Blog.

Kinect for Windows Roadmap Graphic

First wave of Xbox LIVE games coming to Windows 8. Earlier this year we announced that Xbox is coming to Windows 8. Now, in addition to its industry-leading gaming service, Xbox is pleased to announce support from Microsoft Studios, Rovio, Miniclip, Gameloft, ZeptoLab, Glu Mobile, Halfbrick Studios, and others to bring high quality Xbox games to Windows 8. Wave one of our portfolio will bring you many of the games you already know and love; and will include 29 titles from Microsoft Studios, some of which will be exclusive to Windows 8. Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson has the complete list in this Aug. 31 blog post.

OEMs introduce innovative new PC designs for Windows 8. The industry is building momentum for Windows 8, and the level of hardware innovation from components and hinges to ultrathin designs and beautiful touch displays is impressive. Customers will benefit from very rich and immersive experiences made possible by the combination of the incredible new Windows PCs and tablets running Windows 8 or Windows RT along with cloud services. With devices that range from tablets and hybrids to more familiar notebooks and all-in-ones on display at last week’s IFA conference, it is clear that consumers will have a broad range of PC choices when Windows 8 launches. You can read more about it over on Blogging Windows and see a gallery of the new devices over on the Microsoft News Center. That's a screenshot of the Acer Iconia W700 above.

Webinar: Previewing Outlook 2013. In the latest webinar, we crack open Outlook 2013, something you can also do right now during our free Customer Preview. Check out the webinar over on the Office Blogs, where you’ll get information on new ways to organize and control your schedule and e-mail, take a peak at a calendar or appointments and connect with people quickly.

From the IEBlog: Exploring device orientation and motion. Last week, we released a prototype implementation of the W3C DeviceOrientation Event Specification draft on HTML5Labs.com. This specification defines new DOM events that provide information about the physical orientation and motion of a device. Such APIs will let Web developers easily deliver advanced Web user experiences leveraging modern devices' sensors. Head on over to the IEBlog to find out more on how this helps you as a developer. Also, don’t miss this Aug. 28 post on optical zooming in legacy document modes.

Automating the testing of Windows 8 apps. In the blog post for testing Windows Store apps, we’ve primarily covered what to test your apps for. While you can manually execute the verification areas we’ve discussed in the previous post, it is more efficient to automate some of these verification areas. In this post, we provide some tips and techniques on automating the testing of Windows 8 apps. For the rest of this story, head on over to the Windows 8 App Developer Blog. And don’t miss this Aug. 28 post on adding cloud to your app with Windows Azure Mobile Services.

Windows Azure Developer Camps – Coming to a city near you. Windows Azure Camps are FREE, fun, no-fluff events for developers, by developers that help you learn the latest in developing cloud solutions on Windows Azure. Chances are there is one coming to a city near you; check the schedule over on the Windows Azure Team Blog and get signed up for a Windows Azure Camp today!

Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java - August 2012 Preview. Gearing up for back to school, the Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. team has been busy updating the Windows Azure Plugin for Eclipse with Java. This August 2012 Preview update includes some feedback-driven usability enhancements in existing features along with number additional bug fixes since the July 2012 Preview. The Interoperability @ Microsoft Blog has the whole story.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download. Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog