In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on sports apps for the big game on Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox, the release of Office 365 Home Premium and more.

Game on: Five winning sports apps. Sunday’s football championship game is the first big adrenaline-rush sporting event of the year—but it’s far from the last. The NBA playoffs and the Stanley Cup finals are already just around the corner. And before you know it your favorite Major League Baseball team will be starting spring training. To help you get the most out of each game day, Microsoft and its partners have teamed up to provide a lineup of sports apps for Windows Phone, Xbox and Windows 8 devices that will satisfy even the most devoted and demanding fans. Head on over to the Microsoft News Center and check out this slideshow of apps for sports nuts everywhere. Below is a screenshot from the Sports App for Windows 8.

Microsoft Releases Office 365 Home Premium. Microsoft on Tuesday announced worldwide availability of Office 365 Home Premium, a reinvention of the company’s flagship Office product line for consumers. Office 365 Home Premium is a cloud service designed for busy households and people juggling ever-increasing work and family responsibilities. The new offering includes the latest and most complete set of Office applications; works across up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs and Macs; and comes with extra SkyDrive storage and Skype calling — all for US$99.99 for an annual subscription, the equivalent of US$8.34 per month. To get the rest of this story, read this press release and check out this feature story over on the Microsoft News Center. Also, find out what Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer had to say about Office 365 in his post over on The Official Microsoft Blog.

App roundup: Keep the kids entertained when they’re stuck indoors. If you’ve got kids stuck indoors this winter, here are some apps that might help keep them busy: PuzzleTouch Jr., GuruCool PlaySchool, Nick, Draw Free! and BallFallDown. The Windows Experience Blog has more information on these games, so check them out!

Nick Windows 8 Game

Brainy gaming on your Windows Phone. It might be chilly this time of year, but that doesn’t mean your brain has to freeze. The just-launched Brain Games Collection brings together some of the most challenging entertainment apps in the Windows Phone Store. Here are a few of Windows Phone Blog Editor Michael Stroh’s own favorite highlights: AlphaJax, Collapsticks, Fling, Wordament and AE Sudoku. That’s a screenshot of AE Sudoku below.

AE Sudoku for Windows Phone 8

Nokia City Lens 2.0. Earlier this week Nokia released an update to City Lens, its augmented reality app for Lumia smartphones. City Lens is built on Nokia’s LiveSight mapping API, which overlays the Lumia camera display with information about what's around you-- or in some cases, less. For example, the updated City Lens app provides a line of sight filter that cuts down on the number of results. Get the full story over on Next at Microsoft and be sure to watch the video below.

The Motley Fool Arrives on MSN Money. On Thursday, Motley Fool, a leading resource for individual investors launched its first daily online show, Investor Beat on MSN Money. The MSN Blog has the full story, so don’t miss it!

Face the music. Sharing photos over Skype makes capturing moments of excitement simple and fun whether you're at home or on the go. With Face the Music, we're giving you a chance to show us your best concert face. You know, the look on your face when the lights go down, the curtain goes up and your favorite band takes the stage. Read this Monday post on The Big Blog to find out how to enter.

U.S. Window 8 Student Offer and University Campus Tour coming in February. Calling on all students! We’d like to share the pricing details for the Windows 8 student offer which will begin here in the U.S. on Feb. 1 and in 49 additional countries by March 19. The Windows 8 Pro upgrade edition will be available for students online via the Microsoft Store for $69.99 (ERP)*. Read more about it over on Blogging Windows.

Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 Service Pack 1. Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) 2010 R2 is now available for download. FIM 2010 R2 SP1 provides a number of improvements as well as additional platform support for the latest Microsoft platforms. These improvements and platform support updates are summarized in this Thursday post on the Server & Cloud Blog.

And just in case you missed it, check out this Microsoft News Center feature story on Skulls of Shogun, the first to reach all Microsoft platforms (Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8.)

That’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading! Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog