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In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the new Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview, an update to the Twitter app for Windows 8 (and TONS of other app news), the release of the Nokia Lumia 1020 and its 41-megapixel camera and the latest improvements to SkyDrive. Don’t miss any of ‘em!
New enterprise preview lets companies kick the tires on Windows 8.1. Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview is now available for download so customers can start testing the operating system in their environments. Windows 8.1 Enterprise Preview builds on the Window 8.1 Preview, adding premium features designed to address the mobility, security, management and virtualization needs of today’s companies. Premium features that will be offered in the Windows 8.1 Enterprise edition include Windows To Go Creator, Start Screen Control, DirectAccess, BranchCache, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, AppLocker and Windows Enterprise Side-Loading. Head on over to the Windows for your Business Blog for the rest of the story.
Twitter app for Windows 8 updated and other app news. The Twitter app for Windows 8 is freshly updated with a handful of bug fixes as well as several welcome new features. The new version lets you manage multiple accounts, pin lists or user profiles to your start screen, and view lists from another user’s profile. You can see screens of the new features in Brandon LeBlanc’s Windows Experience Blog post. In other app news, the classic card game UNO is now available in the Windows Phone Store in the form of a new multiplayer social gaming experience called UNO & Friends. And in this week’s Red Stripe Deals, we’ve got Monopoly, Phototastic and Radiant available at discount prices in the Windows Phone Store. Finally, for all you shutterbugs out there, Hipstamatic OGGL is now available for Windows Phone 8 devices. The app provides several situational filters that can enhance the moment you’re about to capture, and then you can upload the images to social networks, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
We shared the Windows security vision and how that vision translates into new security enhancements in Windows 8.1 at the Black Hat conference this week. The upcoming Windows 8.1 update offers a full spectrum of new and improved security capabilities, from features that enables devices to be fully locked down by IT, to remote security options for BYOD devices, to safeguard for personal devices that need to access business resources outside of work.
Some high-level takeaways:
Trustworthy hardware. The Trusted Platform Module is a hardware security device or chip that’s a great tool for the enterprise, but until now has been an optional piece of technology for consumer devices. TPM provides a number of crypto functions, including securely storing keys and performing cryptographic measurements. We’re working to require TPM 2.0 on all devices by January 2015, which will help IT departments be confident that the devices their employees bring to work are fully capable of complying with corporate security policies.
Modern access control. With Windows 8.1, we’ve focused a lot of attention on the controls that IT departments can place on devices to restrict who can physically access a device. Windows 8.1 features first-class biometrics (go beyond swipe to capacitive full fingerprint), multifactor authentication for BYODs (more flexibility and control over how devices connect to internal networks), and trustworthy identities and devices (increased trustworthiness of PKIs that can be targeted by hackers).
Protecting sensitive data. Businesses can protect their data even when it resides on their employees’ personal devices through pervasive data encryption and remote data removal, which will allow an IT department to wipe corporate data off a BYOD device without affecting personal data.
Malware resistance. We’re continuing to step up our built-in malware resistance measures to stay ahead of attackers with an improved Windows Defender that enables it to detect certain bad behaviors in memory, the registry or the file system even before signatures have been created. Also, in Windows 8.1, there’s an API for Internet Explorer that enables anti-malware solutions to make a security determination before a binary extension is loaded (currently, malicious websites can sometimes access sensitive data by exploiting vulnerabilities in binary extension such as ActiveX controls).
Windows Phone 8 users will soon see upgrades for Bing that include a streamlined interface, new search result categories, richer results for popular websites, bigger thumbnails and faster results that use less data.
Bing’s Search Blog gives a detailed preview of the upgrades Bing is rolling out for Windows Phone 8. They will show up automatically on U.S. phones in the coming weeks, with additional markets following.
Like many hobbyist photographers, I use social photo site 500px as a go-to source of inspiration and ideas. The site is packed with the kind of eye-popping, “I can’t believe that’s real” shots that I can usually only dream of taking – but at least I now have a new place to enjoy them. Bing is teaming up with 500px to bring select photos from their site to the Bing experience.
For sports fans, the silver lining to the end of summer is the arrival of Sunday couch time, furiously keeping score of fantasy football team action. (Yes, I’m one of them.)
Now Windows Phone users can get in on the fun with the free ESPN Fantasy Football app. Like any good fantasy football app, it allows for a lot of flexibility for league contenders. Put together your starters, and as the season progresses, bench the injured or those on bye weeks (trust me, you’ll get burned otherwise). You can also add, drop or claim players off waivers. If you’re a real hustler, propose, accept or reject trades with other team owners in your league, and make last-minute lineup changes.
Got a fantastic idea for a new mobile app but aren’t sure your coding chops are up to snuff to make it happen using the standard development tools?
No problem! With today’s launch of Windows Phone App Studio, you don’t need to be a coding ninja to create a great app.
“Windows Phone App Studio is a free, Web-based app creation tool designed to help anyone quickly bring an idea to life by applying text, Web content, imagery and design concepts to any one of a rich set of customizable templates,” General Manager of the Windows Phone Apps & Store Team Todd Brix writes today over on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.
Big news from Tokyo: The Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company plans to deploy 30,000 Windows 8 tablets to its sales personnel starting in September.
This will be Japan’s (and one of the world’s) largest deployments of Windows 8 tablets to date, and is a close cooperation between Fujitsu Ltd. and Microsoft Japan Co., Ltd.
The company will use the Windows 8 tablets to improve service and enhance communications with its customers, including using video and other content to explain its products. The tablets will also give the insurance company a competitive boost by streamlining contract processing and helping eliminate the need for printed documentation, all while providing enhanced security.
One of the world’s largest airline groups, International Airlines Group (IAG) – the parent company of British Airways and Iberia – has chosen Microsoft Office 365 for its 58,000 employees, enabling its far-flung workforce to collaborate virtually anytime, anywhere around the world.
“Giving our employees the tools and freedom to achieve more in their day-to-day activities was a key component in our decision to engage with Microsoft,” said Nigel Underwood, chief information officer for IAG. “Office 365 will allow employees to collaborate and achieve their work tasks regardless of the platform, product or device. This is an excellent example of IAG enabling change within the group to create a common IT platform for our airlines which will be more efficient and reduce our costs.”
Wednesday marks the official launch of the Windows Store Only at Best Buy. In celebration of the launch, we are throwing an event in Los Angeles that shows how technology can activate and invigorate a healthier lifestyle.
With more than one-third of U.S. adults and nearly 18 percent of U.S. children described as obese according to the Centers for Disease Control, technology is more important than ever as a major tool in reversing those trends. Windows 8 apps integrate personalized coaching, nutrition advice and fitness gaming into active routines.
Four standouts from Bing’s stellar suite of Windows 8 apps are now available on Windows Phone, the Bing Blog reports. The mobile versions of the apps – Bing News, Bing Sports, Bing Weather and Bing Finance – are as elegantly designed, highly personalized and packed with world-class content as their desktop counterparts.
Read on for a look at all four:
Bing News Keep tabs on the latest headlines all day long with articles, videos and images from blue-chip content partners like Associated Press, New York Times and Reuters. You can also track your favorite topics and news sources, and even pin them right to your Start Screen.
Xbox’s Major Nelson is here to show you what to expect when you’re expecting (nay, highly anticipating) the launch of Xbox One.
Be sure to watch the video above as he gives a first look at Xbox One by unboxing it right before your eyes, and keep watching as he shows you an up-close-and-personal look at its components and explains some of the new console’s particulars. Read Xbox Wire for additional info, including even more insider details from Albert Penello, our director of product planning for Xbox One.
Last night in West Los Angeles, Microsoft teamed up with Best Buy and Major League Soccer to celebrate the grand opening of the Windows Store Only at Best Buy. Hundreds of customers and fans were treated to clinics and drills on a custom-built soccer field in the Best Buy parking lot, with a special appearance from U.S. National Men’s soccer star and LA Galaxy legend Cobi Jones, as well as hands-on demos of fitness and nutrition apps like Daily Workouts, Endomondo and BallStrike on Windows 8 devices.
Later that night, lucky fans were able to meet former U.S. Men’s National Team player Clint Mathis and legendary Galaxy star Mauricio Cienfuegos. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say about their experience, via Twitter:
LA radio personality @ChueyMartinez turned up the excitement at the event:
We here baby #winstoreBBY in #WestLA I'll be here from 3:30- 5:30 Pico & Sawtelle Come out and say hi!! @bbynews :) pic.twitter.com/DllwwJy3qL
— Chuey Martinez (@ChueyMartinez) August 7, 2013
We here baby #winstoreBBY in #WestLA I'll be here from 3:30- 5:30 Pico & Sawtelle Come out and say hi!! @bbynews :) pic.twitter.com/DllwwJy3qL
In this edition of Weekend Reading, we take you to Los Angeles for the nationwide opening of Microsoft’s new store-within-a-store (Windows Store Only at Best Buy), give insights on a couple of international customers who chose Office 365 and Windows 8 for tens of thousands of employees, and show you how Microsoft is making it easier for developers to create Windows Phone apps.
In the City of Angels, the Windows Store Only at Best Buy launch Wednesday kicked off with Major League Soccer star Clint Mathis participating in on-site activities focused on healthier living. These dedicated spaces, which average about 1,900 square feet, can be found inside 600 Best Buy stores in North America (500 in the United States and more than 100 in Canada). This will be the place for consumers to check out and buy Windows tablets and PCs, Windows Phone devices, Microsoft Office, and Xbox, especially for those without a Microsoft retail store nearby. The Windows Experience Blog shared information about the opening, which featured soccer drills on a full-size field in a parking lot and healthy food tips. The integration of technology into a more active lifestyle can be seen with the latest Windows 8 fitness and nutrition apps (BallStrike, Daily Workouts, Endomondo, LIVESTRONG.com MyPlate Calorie Tracker, Fitbit), and sports-specific apps such as MLS MatchDay.
Check out this slideshow to see how the event played out.
The following is a post from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft.
I’m a words guy. My business revolves around words, how they’re written and how they’re interpreted.
But sometimes numbers are more effective at telling a story than words.
That’s why today we’re introducing a new site at microsoft.com/bythenumbers that uses a familiar interface to highlight some of the important (and not-so-important) facts about our business and our company.
New York State is the latest state government that has chosen Office 365 to consolidate their email systems, provide access to familiar Office applications, and place shared calendars in a cloud-based system for more than 120,000 employees who work for state executive agencies.
“I’m continually impressed by the forward-looking nature of our state customers when it comes to maximizing their available resources,” said Michael Donlan, vice president of state and local government for Microsoft. “In this move to the cloud, Governor Cuomo’s administration is equally focused on ensuring the productivity and efficiency of its employees along with the security and privacy of its citizens across New York.”
Sprint has announced that it will add the Samsung ATIV S Neo to its lineup of phones starting Friday. The phone will cost $150 with a two-year service agreement and $50 mail-in rebate.
According to Windows Phone Blog Editor Michael Stroh, the Samsung ATIV S Neo is “the first Windows Phone 8 device from Sprint with international roaming capabilities.”
The ATIV S Neo boasts a 4.8-inch high-def display, 1.4GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD memory card slot and a 2,000mAh lithium-ion removable battery. The phone also features ATIV Beam, which uses NFC for sharing photos, music and videos with other Windows Phone 8 smartphones and some Android devices.
The R2 wave is upon us!
Microsoft will release Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and the latest update to Windows Intune on Oct. 18, the same day Windows 8.1 will be released.
According to Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Windows Server and System Center Brad Anderson, it’s no coincidence that all four updates will be available on the same day.
“Just a few weeks ago I wrote about the common planning efforts and engineering milestones we shared during the development of this R2 wave – and seeing these products and services become generally available on the same day (with all their integrated scenarios!) is the ultimate benefit!” he wrote in a post over on the In the Cloud blog.
Larry Hryb (aka Major Nelson) and Kate Yeager host the “Call of Duty: Ghosts Global Multiplayer Reveal” today on Xbox Live.
Xbox Live is the only place to see an exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary filmed at Infinity Ward that’s part of the live broadcast. Check it out, and join the conversation on Twitter with #XboxGhosts.
Microsoft is focused on delivering one experience across all the devices in your life. The centerpiece of that strategy and experience are the Microsoft services and apps that come right from (the) Start on your new Windows device.
The Windows Experience blog just posted its first installment of a series that will highlight the apps and services driving toward this “one experience” vision. It comes to life through more than 20 new and improved Microsoft apps and services that come as part of Windows 8.1, including a new one being announced today – Skype, right from (the) Start.
On Thursday Microsoft announced the first international channel availability of Surface RT and Surface Pro for our commercial, education and public sector customers in 17 new markets. In addition to the U.S. commercial channel, the markets that will begin to sell Surface today through a commercial channel include: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K.
In the 10 months since the initial launch of Surface, we’ve moved to put Surface in the hands of more business customers around the world. We wanted to expand commercial distribution for Surface in a thoughtful way, and this new expansion is via a select ecosystem of established channel partners who have the geographical reach, tablet-selling experience and commercial value-added services capabilities to deliver the type of business experience our customers need.
The following is a post from Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education at Microsoft.
As educators grapple with the kind of disruptive change that is prompting businesses in every sector to redefine “workforce-ready,” creative new approaches to public education are gaining momentum. Governments, corporations and non-profits are working together in the spirit of true 21st century collaboration in communities around the world. And these coalitions are making a difference in ways traditional approaches to public education simply can’t.
Today, I’m proud to share that Microsoft is taking part in one such effort, the creation of a “9-14” education model in New York City. Working together with the NYC Department of Education, City University of New York and New York Presbyterian Hospital, we are developing a school, scheduled to open in fall 2014, which will specialize in preparing students for a job in information technology. The program enables students to earn associate degrees while still in high school, ensuring they enter the workforce -- or go on to earn a bachelor’s degree -- with the right set of skills to succeed in their chosen field.
The following is a post from David Howard, Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel, Litigation & Antitrust, Microsoft. It was originally published on Microsoft on the Issues.
You may be wondering what happened to the YouTube app for Windows Phone. Last May, after we launched a much improved app on our platform, Google objected on a number of grounds. We took our app down and agreed to work with Google to solve their issues. This week, after we addressed each of Google’s points, we re-launched the app, only to have Google technically block it.
We know that this has been frustrating, to say the least, for our customers. We have always had one goal: to provide our users a YouTube experience on Windows Phone that’s on par with the YouTube experience available to Android and iPhone users. Google’s objections to our app are not only inconsistent with Google’s own commitment of openness, but also involve requirements for a Windows Phone app that it doesn’t impose on its own platform or Apple’s (both of which use Google as the default search engine, of course).
When we first built a YouTube app for Windows Phone, we did so with the understanding that Google claimed to grow its business based on open access to its platforms and content, a point it reiterated last year. As antitrust enforcers have launched investigations against Google – some of which are still ongoing – the company has reiterated its commitment to openness and its ability to stick to its openness commitments voluntarily.
Xbox 360 maintained its position as the top console in the U.S. last month, selling more units than any other platform with 107,000 units, according to new data from The NPD Group. July marked the 31st consecutive month Xbox 360 was the best-selling console in the U.S.
July 2013 NPD highlights include:
In this edition of Weekend Reading, the big buzz was the announcement of the Oct. 18 worldwide release of Windows 8.1. In New York, there’s great anticipation about the upcoming migration of 120,000 state employees to Office 365. And Sprint added a new smartphone to its lineup: the Samsung ATIV S Neo, the first Windows Phone 8 device from Sprint with international roaming capabilities.
Oct. 18 is turning out to be an auspicious date for much anticipated releases, such as Windows 8.1 and the R2 wave. Windows 8.1 will roll out as a free update for consumers on Windows 8 through the Windows Store. See how more than 20 new and improved Microsoft apps and services come as part of Windows 8.1. Also on that date, Microsoft will release Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows System Center 2012 R2 and the latest update to Windows Intune.