Weekend Reading: June 3rd Edition–Microsoft previews “Windows 8” at D9 conference, plus Windows Phone, Xbox 360, E3 and Bing

Let’s get into it. The big news this week out of Microsoft is obviously the unveiling of some of the UI for the next version of the Windows operating system – internally codenamed “Windows 8.”

And AWAY we go…

“Windows 8” makes a splash. This isn’t going to be your father’s version of Windows. As many now know, on Wednesday, Microsoft raised the curtain on the next version of Windows at All Things D’s D9 conference in California. The demonstration and related news from the Computex Exhibition in Taipei, showed that  future “Windows 8”-based PCs will scale from touch-only small screens through to large screens, with or without a keyboard and mouse. Don’t take my word for it though – go see for yourself. The Microsoft News Center has this video gallery and this image gallery so you can get a closer look at the new OS. Also, be sure to read this Wednesday post on Blogging Windows and this post by All Things D’s Ina Fried.

Xbox: Now THAT’S entertainment! With all the excitement around “Windows 8,” once could almost forget that the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is almost upon us. Earlier this week, Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of corporate communications, dropped a few hints on the future direction of the company’s groundbreaking Xbox 360 console. Here’s a hint: It’s not just a console. As if that wasn’t enough Xbox-related news, Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton wrote this short piece on how the hit racing game Forza Motorsport 4 will get head tracking capabilities courtesy of the massively popular Kinect motion sensor. Clayton’s post includes a slick video that’s just north of a minute long.

Microsoft wins “Best Multinational Workplaces award” in Europe. The Great Place to Work® Institute recently announced that Microsoft is the inaugural winner of the Best Multinational Workplaces 2011 in Europe award. This year, 1,380 companies participated in the study, representing more than 1.5 million employees, making it the largest study of its kind. More than 12,000 Microsoft employees participated in the survey across Europe. For more detail, read this post on the Official Microsoft Blog.

Windows Phone 7 is a hit with busy parents. “In this age of everyone and their uncle owning a smart phone it can be pretty tricky to know what kind to get. So many choices, so little time, right? Well, maybe it will help if we tell you that we’ve never seen a phone that’s more fun than a Windows Phone 7.” That’s straight out of this May 29th review of Windows Phone 7 by People Magazine, which goes on to talk about why Windows Phones are a great choice for busy parents (as if there were any other kind of parent.) Also, check out this Tuesday post on the Windows Phone Blog from blogger, Microsoft employee and full-time mom Katy Asher, who writes about the benefits of Windows Phone.

Bing brings a new streetside view. Take a look at a Bing map in Streetside view and you’ll notice that Microsoft has made a lot of changes. These changes represent a significant enhancement for desktop browsers, enabling users to quickly pan up and down the street to see the neighborhood and find businesses. Bing is doing this by providing street level panoramas so you can take a virtual walk through the streets with a view of locations and landmarks. For more detail on the new feature, read this Tuesday post on the Bing Search Blog. That’s a glimpse of the new streetside view below:

Bing Streetside View

Wireless desktop 2000: A guard dog on your desktop. On Thursday, Microsoft announced a wireless mouse and keyboard combo designed with security in mind – the new Wireless Desktop 2000which incorporates Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-bit technology to help secure your personal and business information by encrypting what you type. This is Microsoft’s first keyboard to feature AES 128-bit encryption, which industry leaders consider to be one of the most secure encryption standards. Get more detail in this post on the Microsoft Hardware Blog.

Phew! What a week it’s been! Thanks for stopping by for this edition of Weekend Reading. Stay tuned to the Official Microsoft Blog – more news about E3 is coming next week!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog