Weekend Reading: April 6th Edition – The Reviews are in on the Nokia Lumia 900, Behind the Scenes of Kinect Star Wars, plus Bing, MSN & Skype

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the latest reviews for the Nokia Lumia 900, the out-of-this-world release of Kinect Star Wars, plus Bing, MSN, Skype and more. Check ‘em out!

The reviews are in on the Nokia Lumia 900. The highly anticipated Nokia Lumia 900 becomes available on AT&T on April 8. Curious to hear what some in the technology press are saying about the phone? Check out these reviews from CNN Money, Mashable and Gizmodo for starters, and then head on over to the Windows Phone newsroom to see more. Below is a screenshot of the Lumia 900.

‘Kinect Star Wars:’ A tour de Force by fans, for fans. Abby Lee walked into a Seattle toy store recently and purchased two LEGO Darth Vader alarm clocks, a Star Wars pop-up book, and a few LEGO speeder bikes. The bemused checkout clerk asked if she was going to a birthday party. “No,” Lee replied. “I’m going to work.” In this feature story on the Microsoft News Center, meet the Force-sensitive fans who helped bring the Star Wars universe to life in “Kinect Star Wars,” the ultimate Jedi experience for Padawans of all ages. Check out the screenshot below of Kinect Star Wars:

Jasmine Villegas and Internet Explorer team up to bring fans a new music video experience. Fans of recording artist Jasmine Villegas have a new way to immerse themselves in her music as they become part of the new video for her hit song, “Just a Friend.” Villegas (known simply as Jasmine) partnered with Internet Explorer and the interactive storytellers at Digital Kitchen to create a highly interactive music video that tailors the experience to each viewer, giving everyone the opportunity to influence the outcome of the storyline, see their own Facebook photos throughout the video and even “talk” to Jasmine herself. Read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center for more detail. That’s Jasmine below.

Exergamers wellness club uses Kinect and HealthVault to enhance seniors’ well-being. Orlando Estrada, 77, experienced so much pain and loss of balance after his two knee-replacement surgeries that he needed a wheelchair to get around. Estrada, a former design engineer at Hewlett Packard, attributes his remarkable recovery to his participation in the Exergamers Wellness Club, a project made possible by a public-private partnership between Microsoft, the Los Angeles Department of Aging, Partners in Care Foundation, and St. Barnabas Senior Services, a non-profit organization that operates a popular senior center in one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles. To get the rest of this story, read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center and this Wednesday post on Microsoft on the Issues.

And in other Windows Phone news… The impending arrival of the Lumia 900 isn’t the only piece of news coming out of Windows Phone. Just in case you missed ‘em, check out these posts on the Windows Phone Blog on tips for transferring contacts and other stuff to a new Windows Phone, three pinworthy Windows Phone baseball apps and, finally, how to control access to apps on your kids’ Windows Phone.

Global Bing Video updates rolling out. We recently rolled out (and are still rolling out) a number of improvements to Bing Video. Available in all countries that currently support Bing Video, these updates make it easier to scan, explore and discover videos. Read this March 29 post on the Bing Search Blog to find out what’s new.

Cutting edge independent films debuting on MSN Movies. Starting today, MSN will host the exclusive, worldwide premiere of four cutting edge independent films on MSN Movies. With the intent of driving the theater experience onto the web, MSN has partnered with some of the world’s leading independent film auteurs to bring these very special films to audiences worldwide. From the depths of suburban horror, to one man’s journey to be with the woman he loves, MSN hopes these films will enlighten, entertain and even inspire. Read this April 1 post on The MSN Blog to learn more.

And don’t forget to check out the updated Skype shop. With the recent update to the Skype Shop, I thought it would be helpful for me to describe what the Shop is all about, new features this version of the Shop has, and how the Shop is beneficial to you. The goal of the Skype Shop is to connect people around the world with accessories that have been optimized to work with Skype. Read this March 30 post on The Big Blog for the rest of the story.

That’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading! Thanks for stopping by!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog