The Midweek Download: Aug. 3rd Edition–Behind the Voice of Kinect for Xbox 360, plus Windows Phone Dev News, IE10 and Microsoft Research

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got the story behind the voice of the Kinect for Xbox 360, news bits for Windows Phone developers and a few other items. Check it out.

The story behind the voice of Kinect. For years leading up to the launch of Kinect, Microsoft was blending technologies for the connected living room, working toward its vision of a natural, powerful center for home entertainment. At the same time, millions of people around the world had invited the newest iteration of video game consoles into their homes — the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, which was capable of handling games, movies, TV, music and photos — and it opened a world of Internet-connected possibilities. Read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center to find out how Microsoft envisioned magic in the living room and made it real.

Attention, developers! Introducing our GitHub code sample library. Since releasing the latest version of our developer platform, Microsoft has received a number of requests for code samples on popular smartphone platforms such as iOS as well as for Microsoft technologies like C# and ASP.NET. On Monday, we announced that we’ve created a code sample repository on GitHub that we’ve seeded with code samples for integrating data from SkyDrive, Messenger and Hotmail into a variety of application types. To get the rest of this story, check out this Monday post on the Inside Windows Live Blog.

Student developers show their coding chops on Windows Phone. When Microsoft announced the availability of Mango for our registered developers a few weeks ago, we put out a call to student developers: show us a great prototype of your Windows Phone app idea and get a developer phone. So far, we’ve had a tremendous response! We’ve been inspired and impressed by some of the crazy ideas. Read this July 29th post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog to see what the students came up with.

Another helping of Mango for devs. In June, Microsoft released Beta 2 of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1. On July 26th, Windows Phone Engineering CVP Terry Myerson announced Windows Phone OS RTM. Now, Microsoft is offering a refresh of the beta tools to our registered developer community. You can download the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 “Beta 2 Refresh” from the ‘Mango’ Connect site. We’ve received positive feedback on the Mango tools and bits we’ve shared, but appreciate that many devs are still interested in working with a more complete build. The refresh of the tools represents a month of great progress by the engineering team, further refining and improving the Mango developer experience. For more details, read this July 27th post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog.

HTML5 drag and drop in Internet Explorer 10. Drag and drop is a user interaction model that we all use on a day to day basis, probably without giving it much thought. We drag files from one folder to another, text from one area of a document to another, and PowerPoint slides from one place in the presentation to another. HTML5 Drag and Drop, available in IE10 Platform Preview 2, brings this natural, familiar behavior to the Web. Read this July 27th post on the IEBlog for the rest of the story.

IE9 momentum on Windows 7 continues. There’s been a lot of interesting discussion regarding browsers and business customers over the last month or so. One trend that is becoming increasingly clear is that despite its recent release, IE9 is on its way to quickly becoming the browser of choice for businesses. Recent data from Net Applications shows IE9 browser share jumping to 3.5 percent in just three months in commercial accounts. To find out more, read this July 31st post on the Exploring IE Blog.

Revue 3MP to give researchers a clearer picture. Several years ago, Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton visited Microsoft Research in Cambridge, England and heard about SenseCam – a project he describes as “an amazing tool for sufferers of Alzheimer’s.” A little over a year ago, UK-based Vicon made the technology available to researchers who study Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions that affect short-term memory loss – the device is known as the Vicon Revue. Next month, in August, Vicon will release the next-generation camera, the Revue 3MP. To get the whole story, read this July 29th post on the Next at Microsoft Blog.

Thanks for reading The Midweek Download. Stop by again Friday for another edition of Weekend Reading.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog