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In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the great Windows 8 phones and apps announced this week during Mobile World Congress and some must-see Sunday entertainment – the Gears of War: Judgment premiere arrives.
Windows Phone 8 at Mobile World Congress. Nokia had a busy press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The company announced new Windows Phone 8 models, the availability of its popular location apps and services to more Windows Phones and tantalizing details about new partnerships and initiatives in the works. Here’s a rundown of what you missed. Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 portfolio already includes the Lumia 620, 820, and flagship 920. On Monday, in an effort to put more phones into more people’s hands around the globe, the company said it’s adding two new models to its Lumia lineup: the 520 and 720. Pictured below is the Lumia 520. For more on this story, head to Monday’s Windows Phone Blog post.
Xbox LIVE world premiere broadcast for Gears of War: Judgment, Sunday, March 3! Join Major Nelson March 3 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT for the Gears of War: Judgment world premiere live event streamed over Xbox LIVE to your Xbox 360 console. Developers from Epic Games will be on hand to debut brand new, never-before-seen reveals including Aftermath and Survival Mode. Major Nelson will be hosting the event and we will allow viewers to vote live during the show for the gameplay you want to see and get your questions answered during interactive interviews with Epic’s Chris Wynn and Alan Van Slyke by tagging your questions on Twitter with #GearsJudgment. PLUS, we’re giving away a custom Gears of War: Judgment Xbox 360 console as well copies of the game. Get the rules and details in Tuesday’s post on Major Nelson’s blog and check out the preview video below.
Today, Microsoft lifted the veil on its reimagined Envisioning Center, the result of collaboration between the company’s Strategic Prototyping team and Office Labs. Visitors can work on interactive desks, talk with colleagues through digital walls, and cook in a Kinect-enabled kitchen. Microsoft expects thousands of customers to explore the new space each year. Watch the short video below to get a look inside the Envisioning Center, and then head on over the Next at Microsoft to get the full story.
In a blog post this morning, S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, announced the availability of Office Developer tools for Visual Studio 2012.
“The Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 provide broad and deep support, ranging from new templates to new designers to a whole host of integrated lifecycle tools. They enable developers to create, edit, test, debug, package, and deploy apps for Office and SharePoint, across all current Office and SharePoint hosting models and app types,” he wrote.
In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on TechForum, TechFest, tips for developers who want to market their Windows Phone apps and more.
TechForum demos reveal new world of “Intelligent Technology.” Microsoft’s strategic and technical vision for the future was discussed this week at TechForum, an annual event hosted by Craig Mundie, senior advisor to the CEO, and Eric Rudder, Microsoft’s chief technical strategy officer. To get the full story, check out this slideshow on the Microsoft News Center and read Tuesday’s post on Next at Microsoft. Below is a video featuring Craig Mundie, senior advisor to CEO Steve Ballmer, and Eric Rudder, chief technical strategy officer, who hosted the sixth annual TechForum gathering here at Microsoft’s brand-new Envisioning Center.
This one’s for all you web slingers out there!
The latest App of the Week to be featured on the Microsoft News Center is The Amazing Spider-Man Xbox game for Windows Phone. Crawl, climb and web-sling around a three-dimensional New York City as you fight the Lizard and his minions in more than 25 immersive missions inspired by the recent film’s storyline. As Stan the Man used to say, “Don’t miss it, True Believers!”
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we have stories from TechFest 2013, new Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps such as Real Soccer 2013 and Next Issue, Office 2013 and more.
From TechFest 2013: Microsoft Research’s FetchClimate helps predict weather patterns and forest fires. One of the stand out projects from TechFest last year was FetchClimate! — a browser-based tool that lets you access and visualize all sorts of climate and atmospheric data from around the world in a Bing Maps interface. It’s an amazing tool for a couple of reasons: it gives you access to actual climate data from sources such as NOAA and the MET at the click of a mouse, and it gives you this really useful and visually engaging interface that helps you drill down into a host of different factors as they relate to weather conditions. It really was an amazing display of how big data could be visualized. This year, Microsoft Researchers Drew Purves and Vassily Lyutsarev went a step further. They developed the prototype for a browser-based probability engine that could use all of that climate data to make predictions about weather patterns, forest fires and other atmospheric conditions. Watch the video below and read this Thursday post on Next at Microsoft to learn more about this exciting MSR project. Also, if you weren’t able to make it to TechFest, you should check out these videos from the event at the TechFest 2013 Video Portal.
Working on group projects has never been easier.
Starting today, college students in the U.S. can get three months of Office 365 University and 20 GB of SkyDrive storage for free. Now, you and your classmates can create and edit full Office documents from just about anywhere and access and store them on SkyDrive.
Check out the video below starring Aubrey Plaza, one of the stars from NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”, as she walks her fellow students through how easy it is to get your class projects done using Office 365 University and SkyDrive (even if you’re working from a unicorn stable):
Boy, they never stop trying to improve over on the Bing team.
Today, Microsoft released a new version of Bing Desktop, which includes some cool new features:
· Keep Tabs on Your Facebook Friends: Now Bing Desktop lets you check your news feed and friends’ photos without launching a browser.
The Lync 2013 app for Windows Phone is here!
As someone who is always on the go and can’t always be tied to my desk, I use the Lync 2013 for Windows Phone pretty much every day. The app brings the power of the Lync desktop app to your mobile device – including voice and video over wireless, instant messaging, conferencing and calling features – and all from a sleek, easy-to-use interface.
Here are some of the new app’s key features:
· View colleagues’ availability in real time and select the best way to communicate – initiating an instant message (IM), e-mail, voice or video call.
· Connect to Lync Meetings with a single touch, without requiring long numeric passcodes or conference numbers.
Since last summer, more than 60 million customers have signed up for Outlook.com, Microsoft’s new modern email service. And when we say “modern”, we mean “modern”.
Outlook.com helps solve two of the biggest problems email services have faced since people started communicating electronically in massive numbers years ago – outdated contacts lists and attachment space limits.
Space… The final frontier… These are the voyages of five cool Windows 8 apps that let space fanatics explore strange new worlds, seek out new life forms and new… well, you get the idea.
Windows Experience Blog writer Amy D has a fantastic roundup of five out of this world apps focused on exploring the cosmos – Star Chart, NASA Be a Martian, The Final Frontier, Planet Story and Angry Birds Space. Above is a screenshot from the Star Chart app.
It was easy to add compelling new indie games to the Next Big Thing Collection in the Windows Phone Store for March, because this month has a bumper crop of awesome titles from some of our most popular developers.
You can build your own country, find the common element among four pictures (not nearly as easy as it sounds), or even conquer big, bad enemies with your tennis serve. Get ready for some serious March mayhem with these top new indie games for Windows Phone. Above is a screenshot from No Gravity ($1.99), where you’re one of the lone survivors of a deadly plague who must now must find and destroy the enemy responsible for unleashing it.
Just about anyone with a smartphone today can shoot video and share it across multiple social networks. But what if you could go to the big game with your buddies or a concert with your friends and create a single video that showcases the same event from multiple points of view?
Now you can. Microsoft and social video editing startup Vyclone today released a new Web editor that allows users to edit and share crowd sourced video to the Web using just a browser and HTML5. Watch the video below to get a behind-the-scenes look at the new web editor.
Experience epic battles in a quest to conquer the galaxy in Galactic Reign, a game of tactics and strategy for Windows 8 and Windows Phone and the latest App of the Week featured on the Microsoft News Center.
Assemble a fleet of starships and take command, and then choose a species to man the ships and customize them with weapons such as torpedoes and lasers. Expand your fleet with vital resources harvested from nearby planets while battling other admirals for control of three key planets in the system and ultimate domination of the galaxy.
Great to visit @yammer and @motherlondon today, fantastic innovation in @techcityuk that we can all be proud of A twitter.com/BritishMonarch…
— TheBritishMonarchy (@BritishMonarchy) March 13, 2013
Great to visit @yammer and @motherlondon today, fantastic innovation in @techcityuk that we can all be proud of A twitter.com/BritishMonarch…
We had a special visitor at Yammer’s London office earlier this morning: His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, stopped by while on a visit to Tech City, a technology hub located in East London.
Twitter for Windows 8 is now available in the Windows Store!
Twitter for Windows 8 brings you all the design, features and functionality of Twitter combined with the fast and fluid technology of Windows 8:
· The Discover (#) icon shows you new topics from people in your network and other information like Trends and Who to Follow suggestions.
· The Share charm makes it easier to tweet links, pictures and opinions to your followers from anywhere in Windows 8.
· Create the ultimate screen with Snap view on Windows 8. Drag Twitter into the narrow side of the screen and slide in another favorite app. You can stream a live video while you watch the conversation about it unfold on Twitter. Then use the Share charm to join the discussion.
If you’re an avid skier, then we’ve got the app for you – Winter Ski & Ride for Windows Phone. You’ll find it in the Nokia Collection in the Windows Phone Store.
The app has some really cool features for anyone who enjoys the rush of barreling down the side of a mountain at high speed:
· Ski analytics (speed, duration, vertical drop)
· "Zoomable" resort maps for thousands of resorts
The Verge’s Tom Warren published a story that does a great job of capturing our thinking on the future of search in general and Bing in particular.
Warren’s piece is a strong reflection of the Online Services Division’s strategy to enrich and differentiate Microsoft devices and services using the expertise built over the past several years in constructing the Bing search box.
The story focuses on Bing’s deep integration with so much of what we do here at Microsoft, and quotes Qi Lu, president of the Online Services Division, who spoke about the future role of Bing, among other topics, at TechForum last week.
Xbox 360 sold 302,000 units in February, marking its 26th consecutive month as the number-one selling console in the U.S., according to data released today by The NPD Group.
February highlights from The NPD Group include:
· Holding 41 percent share of current-generation console sales, maintaining the number-one console spot in the U.S.
· Total retail spend on the Xbox 360 platform in February (hardware, software and accessories) was the most for any console in the U.S.
· During the month of February, Xbox 360 held five of the top 10 console game titles including: “Crysis 3,” “Aliens: Colonial Marines,” “Dead Space 3,” “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” and “NBA 2K13.”
This spring, Xbox 360 continues to bring new offerings to consumers. Available for a limited time, the new Spring Value Bundle includes a 250GB Xbox 360, wireless controller, wired headset, “Darksiders II” and “Batman: Arkham City” for $299.
Well, it’s been one heck of a busy week here at Microsoft! This week, Windows Phone 8 won the smartphone category in PCMag.com’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards, the Xbox 360 kept the top console spot in the U.S., the Duke of York visited the Yammer office in London and the Twitter app for Windows 8 was released. Phew! Read more about it below.
And the winner is… PCMag.com’s 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards are in and Windows Phone 8 won in the smartphone category! “According to our survey respondents, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 clearly bests Apple and Android. In 2012, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 shared the Readers' Choice Award for mobile phone platforms with Apple's iOS. This year, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 stands alone at the top, relegating Apple's iOS to Honorable Mention,” PCMag.com writer Ben Gottesman reports. You can get the full story over on PCMag.com.
Keep better track of favorite bands using Buzz app for Windows Phone. Do concert and album announcements tend to get lost in the noise of Facebook, Farmville, and family? Do you usually find out local shows from reviews the next day. If that’s the case, you can stay more up to date on the music scene with Buzz, a recently-enabled feature of Windows Phone 8 that rolls up info from social media and Bing to provide a snapshot of what your favorite bands are up to. Where available, you’ll find it in the Music+Videos Hub when you tap on an artist. Read this post on The Windows Phone Blog to get the entire story. Below is a trio of screenshots from the Buzz app.
Life at Microsoft isn’t just about coming up with the next big technological innovation or writing software code.
Case in point: Next week, more than 400 Microsoft employees, customers and partners from around the world will travel to New Orleans for the annual Microsoft Dynamics Convergence conference. On March 18, before the convention networking begins, more than 400 customers, partners and Microsoft employees attending Convergence are teaming up with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, Hike for KaTREEna and St. Paul’s Homecoming Center to frame two new Habitat houses.
The Kinect for Windows team unveiled Kinect for Windows SDK 1.7 at the Engadget Expand event this past weekend.
The latest iteration is the result of thousands of hours of work since the release of the Kinect for Windows SDK v. 1 and comes with a host of cool new capabilities.
The long wait for hordes of “Gears of War” fans is over. “Gears of War: Judgment” is here! The latest installment of the award-winning franchise hit stores at just after midnight.
Developed exclusively for Xbox 360, “Gears of War: Judgment” immerses fans in the most riveting and challenging “Gears” game yet, with explosive new multiplayer modes and an epic-scale campaign that takes you back to the immediate aftermath of Emergence Day – the defining event of the “Gears of War” universe.
Set years prior to the events of the previous “Gears of War” trilogy, “Judgment” follows Kilo Squad, a team of battle-hardened warriors comprised of the fearless Damon Baird, Augustus “The Cole Train” Cole and new characters Sofia Hendrick and Garron Paduk, as they attempt to save the besieged city of Halvo Bay from a terrifying new enemy.
“Judgment” introduces several firsts for the franchise, including a dynamic “Smart Spawn System” that changes enemy types, timing and locations with each encounter, as well as a “Mission Declassification” system that lets players experience more challenging scenarios by uncovering critical information during the course of the campaign.
Selection Sunday for the 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament is done.
Now, it’s time to for you to make your selections! If you’re as big a college hoops fan as I am, then you’ll want all the help you can get filling out those brackets.
Windows Phone Blog Editor Michael Stroh has highlighted a few slam dunk apps from the Windows Phone Store’s March Madness Collection to help you stay up to fill out your brackets and stay up to date on which teams advance and which ones go home.
The following is a feature story from Microsoft News Center Editorial Staff about a new Windows Phone app contest where the public votes one lucky app into a TV ad and gets a chance to win new Windows Phones for themselves in the process.
It’s part March Madness, part American Idol; part showcase and part showdown.
The Windows Phone Next App Star contest enters its first round of head-to-head competition today, pitting Windows Phone apps from developers around the world against each other for a chance to see their app on TV.
Like March Madness, the contest happens during the third month of the year, and its first round involves 64 contestants. Like American Idol, popular vote decides the winner. In this case, ballots can be cast via the contest web site starting today. Customers from every country that Microsoft does business with may vote.
The winner of each head-to-head match gets a prize and moves on to the next round, and the top app at the end of the contest will get featured in a prime-time television ad in the U.S.