In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the new devices, apps and games announced at Nokia World, the retail release of the newest generation of Surface devices and inroads Office 365 has made with both private and public organizations.

At Nokia World, the spotlight was on new devices, apps and games. Two new smartphones were unveiled: the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 (the former is pictured below), both with 6-inch, high-definition screens. A new Windows RT 8.1 tablet, the Lumia 2520, also made its debut. The event also revealed a slew of new apps, including the much-anticipated Instagram, Vine and Xbox Video apps. But that’s just a sampling of the apps and games introduced at Nokia World. The Windows Phone Blog has the full scoop.

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On Tuesday, the newest Surface models — Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 — along with an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories, became available to consumers. They can purchase the devices at Microsoft retail stores, the Microsoft Online Store, select third-party retailers and authorized commercial resellers in 21 initial markets. While in Abu Dhabi for Nokia World, Frank Shaw, corporate vice president of Communications at Microsoft, wrote about the advantages of Surface models that have Office built-in, vs. “Apple’s decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets.” On Tuesday, the Surface Blog shared why professionals are excited about Surface as the first device that can truly replace their laptop, iPad and even their desktop.

In the United Kingdom, the Surface 2 goes on sale Oct. 30. It made a big splash in Trafalgar Square thanks to British musician Dizzee Rascal, who unveiled a huge 27 x 16-foot high Surface that came with a working giant keyboard and invited passersby to try it out.

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Office 365 makes major inroads with California law enforcement, MetLife and the Department of Defense. A critical milestone was reached this month in the State of California with the Department of Justice and Microsoft jointly signing an agreement confirming that Office 365 helps organizations meet strict federal regulatory requirements around security and privacy. On Monday, MetLife Inc., which serves more than 90 million customers, announced it chose Microsoft Office 365 to offset the challenges of a rapidly expanding global workforce and company presence. Also on Monday, the United States Army announced that Microsoft now has the opportunity to provide Office 365 to the Department of Defense (DoD) and its mission partners.

In this week’s Garage Series show, hosts Jeremy Chapman and Vijay Kumar tackle one of the most common questions asked about cloud services, “How safe is my data on Office 365?” The Office 365 technology blog covers related concerns around data privacy and availability.

Now that Windows 8.1 is out, there are lots of good reasons to update to it. Among those: full support for end-to-end 3-D printing, writes Gavin Gear on the Extreme Windows Blog. (An example of what you can make is shown below in the vase.) On Wednesday, Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Developer and Platform Evangelism at Microsoft, published a post on the Windows App Builder Blog about the new Windows platform advertising capabilities, which he believes will deliver better app monetization.

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Apps and games take on a spooky flavor with the Windows Phone Store’s Halloween Collection, which includes the Halloween Makeup Tutorials app, offering tips from special-effects makeup artists (as the screenshots below show). Also in the supernatural realm: “Zombie Derby,” “Pumpkin Smash 3” and a virtual-reality Halloween world in “The Sims FreePlay.” Fitting in with the undead aura of the season, the latest App of the Week, the Windows 8 companion app to AMC’s “Walking Dead,” features interactive trivia, polls and exclusive video synced to the cable hit.

More Windows Phone Store bargains appeared with the latest Red Stripe Deals: HDR Photo Camera, “Paper Racer” and “Mirror’s Edge.” And “Rail Rush” sped into play, exclusive to Nokia Windows Phone 8 devices.

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Rev up your engines for the latest additions to the “Forza Motorsport 5 Showroom. On Wednesday, fans were treated to a mix of JDM (Japanese Domestic Market), classics, exotics and American muscle cars. (Check out the sweet ride below, a 2013 Audi R8 Coupé V10 plus 5.2 FSI Quattro.) But if you’re interested in what’s under the hood of “Forza Motorsport” and the background of Turn 10 Studios’ creative director, Dan Greenawalt, check out this EUROGAMER.net story. And as Xbox Wire reports, after revealing the Oct.10 arrival of the Stig’s digital cousin to “Forza Motorsport 5,” the “Top Gear” folks worked with Turn 10 Studios to release the first official video of the show’s exclusive integration in the game.

In other Xbox news, North American fans of “Titanfall” found out Mar. 11, 2014 is the day they can buy the game, which is exclusive to Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PCs. And Larry Hryb, Xbox LIVE’s director of programming, aka “Major Nelson,” is on the road to promote Xbox One. Find out if he’s coming to a city near you!

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This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we met The Little Printer.

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And that’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you next week!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff