Weekend Reading: Jan. 11th Edition – Huawei Introduces Windows Phone 8 Device at CES & ‘Indie’ Game App Developers Light Up Windows Phone


In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on Huawei joining the Windows Phone 8 family, great Windows Phone apps for gamers and snow junkies, plus some Oscar-worthy apps to help you get through awards season.

Natural User Interfaces part 4: what’s next? Yesterday, Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton shared his final post on NUI. It goes beyond Kinect and explains why NUI is much more than touch and gesture. You can watch some future scenarios play out in the Office Vision video below. To see some really facinating stuff, take a look at the post on Next at Microsoft and be sure to check out the first three parts of Clayton’s NUI series.

And the winner is….these 6 Windows Phone apps for award season. Oscar buzz kicked into high gear yesterday with the announcement of this year’s Academy Award nominees—all part of the excitement of what’s casually become known as award season. From the Golden Globes (Jan. 13) to the Grammys (Feb. 10) to the Oscars (Feb. 24), there’s lots of interesting trivia, gossip, and backstories to keep up with until the statuettes are handed out. In yesterday’s Windows Phone Blog post, Michael Stroh shared his must-have list of Windows Phone apps to stay on top of it all, including what he calls the “granddaddy” of movie, television and celebrity facts: the Internet Movie Database—aka IMDb (pictured below).

Huawei joins the Windows Phone 8 family with the Ascend W1. Ben Rudolph says he didn’t make it to CES this year in Las Vegas, but Huawei’s first Windows Phone 8 device, the Ascend W1, did! In this Tuesday post on the Windows Phone Blog, Rudolph introduces the Ascend W1 (pictured in white below). This 4-inch device packs a 480 x 800 display, a dual-core 1.2 Ghz Snapdragon processor, 5MP rear and .3MP front-facing cameras, and 4GB of internal storage. You can add another 32GB via the built-in MicroSD slot to give yourself plenty of space for your music, videos and movies. Get the full scoop over on the Windows Phone Blog.

Essential indie games for Windows Phone (January 2013). Last month Michael Stroh of the Windows Phone Blog spotlighted a clutch of games created by independent—or “indie”—developers that had either caught fire among Windows Phone owners or impressed the folks here who review apps for a living. The response was so good—obviously, lots of indie game fans out there—that Stroh decided to make it a regular thing. In Tuesday’s post on the Windows Phone Blog, Stroh reveals the first monthly list of most promising indie titles to debut or receive big updates during the previous weeks. Pictured below is indie creation, The Path of Kara. Also check out Stroh’s app picks for skiers and snowboarders. They’ll go hand-in-hand with these indie games.

Microsoft Research at CES: IllumiRoom. Earlier this week at CES, Eric Rudder, Microsoft’s Chief Technology Strategy Officer, joined the Samsung keynote to share Microsoft’s vision for extending computing interactions to any surface in your home. This wasn’t a product launch but Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton says he’s excited by the potential shown in the research that we shared. So, apparently, are the media. Imagine a space like your kitchen or a classroom achieving that same level of interactivity as your phone – this will happen through a combination of embedded devices and sensors such as Kinect for Windows. Interested? Head over to the Thursday’s edition of Next at Microsoft for a glimpse at the future.

Xbox 360 TOMB RAIDER Limited Edition Wireless Controller + how to win one. Yesterday, Major Nelson announced the Xbox 360 TOMB RAIDER Limited Edition Wireless Controller. The Major put together a quick video (below) that shows a few of the features and laser etched details. He also shared a few more photos on his Flickr page. The controller will be priced at US$59.99 (MSRP, check your local retailer for pricing) and will be available world-wide when the game launches in March. Get all the details, including how to win one of your own, right here.

Windows 8 Family Safety Settings help keep kids safer online. It’s no surprise that kids today are growing up online. They use mobile devices to do their homework, play games, connect with friends, and access the wealth of information available on the Web. Technology gives children access to a host of positive, educational and growth experiences; yet, parents face challenges when they look to monitor what children see online, the people they meet and the information they share. In this post, Microsoft Director of Trustworthy Computing Jacqueline Beauchere discusses online safety with Windows 8 Family Safety Settings. Find out how to create a safer Internet in your home in this Tuesday edition of the Microsoft on the Issues blog.

How you can do GOOD for your favorite nonprofit. Microsoft and GOOD have teamed up to give you the opportunity to help your favorite youth-focused nonprofit. On Monday we announced the Microsoft Give For Youth Challenge, a contest where you nominate and vote for nonprofits who support young people around the United States. Head over to Tuesday’s Corporate Citizenship Blog post for the rest of the story.

And in case you missed it … Eye candy: a look at some of the coolest new hardware at CES.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. Thanks for stopping by The Official Microsoft Blog!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog

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