Microsoft Health and Microsoft Band: Getting in shape has never been so productive — Weekend Reading: Oct. 31st Edition

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This week, we’ve got stories about the new Microsoft Health platform and Microsoft Band device, a new partnership with the Special Olympics and new cloud services and mobility solutions announced at TechEd Europe.

Microsoft Health, an exciting new platform, includes a cloud service where consumers and industry can store and combine health and fitness data to gain powerful insights using Microsoft’s Intelligence Engine. Those insights include: which exercises burned the most calories during a workout, recommended recovery time based on the intensity of a workout, and the amount of restful vs. restless sleep you’ve gotten. The free Microsoft Health app is available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Activity-tracking devices like the new Microsoft Band, smart watches and mobile phones, plus services like RunKeeper or MyFitnessPal connect to Microsoft Health. The Microsoft Band, designed to be worn whether you’re at the gym or on the job, has 10 smart sensors for 24-hour heart rate monitoring, calorie burn measurement, advanced sleep quality tracking and more. It also keeps you productive and connected at a glance with helpful, smart notifications including incoming calls, emails, texts and social updates, as well as access to Cortana.

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Microsoft announced a three-year, multimillion dollar partnership with the Special Olympics that will modernize the nonprofit organization’s technology and place it in the cloud. The Azure-based games management system will enable instant access to real-time updates and athlete information. Microsoft also will sponsor the summer 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles (and provide 800 Surface tablets and 1,200 Lumia phones to track all events at the Games, while connecting volunteers across multiple venues), and the winter 2017 World Games in Austria. The company has also committed to raising additional funds for the nonprofit, pledging $1 million over the life of the partnership in the spirit of Microsoft’s company-wide Giving Campaign.

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New cloud services, mobility solutions, APIs, tools and an expanded ecosystem of partner solutions were announced at TechEd Europe. They’re all designed to help IT professionals and developers compete and thrive in today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world. Microsoft also announced management, security, privacy and compliance enhancements for the Enterprise Mobility Suite and Office 365. “We are using the power of our cloud platform — Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics — to deliver technology solutions that empower IT professionals, developers and end users to do more,” said Jason Zander, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure.

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It’s a holiday bundle bonanza: Xbox One will be $349 for a limited time, starting Nov. 2, and there are several exclusive bundles to choose from, including the Xbox One “Assassin’s Creed” Bundle and the Xbox One Special Edition “Sunset Overdrive” Bundle, each $349. There’s also the Xbox One “Assassin’s Creed” Bundle with Kinect, which comes with “Assassin’s Creed: Unity,” “Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag” and “Dance Central Spotlight,” for $449. You also might be salivating over the Xbox One Limited Edition “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” Bundle, with a 1TB hard drive, custom console, custom controller and Limited Edition exoskeleton, plus a digital copy of the “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition.” That bundle is $449 and is available starting Nov. 3.

There are no limits anymore when it comes to OneDrive cloud storage for Office 365 subscribers, a change that took effect this week for Office 365 Home, Personal and University customers, and will be rolled out during the coming months, says Chris Jones, corporate vice president for OneDrive SharePoint. “For OneDrive for Business customers, unlimited storage is now listed on the Office 365 roadmap and we will begin updating the First Release customers in 2015, aligned with our promise to provide ample notification for significant service changes.”

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Have some ghoulish, game-playing fun this weekend with Minecraftand the Steampunk and Halloween Texture Packs that will give your worlds a spooky look, and are free for all Xbox One and Xbox 360 miners worldwide. “Despicable Me: Minion Rush” has an update for Windows and Windows Phone that includes a new Frankenstein Minion character and haunted decorations, and lets you storm Vector’s Fortress and the Bunker. If you’re out trick-or-treating, you might miss the first airing of “Remaking the Legend – Halo 2: Anniversary Documentary,” but it will be shown again this weekend on www.twitch.tv/Xbox, and you can also download it for free on Xbox Video, or watch it on the Halo Channel on Nov. 11.

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Thanks for reading this edition of Weekend Reading. Have a fun – and safe – Halloween!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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