The Midweek Download: April 25th Edition–Introducing a More Muscular SkyDrive, the Latest on Windows 8, plus Windows Intune, Windows Phone and Internet Explorer 10

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got the lowdown on the new and more powerful SkyDrive, memory usage in Windows 8, what’s next for Windows Intune and a few bits and pieces for Windows Phone developers.

Available now: A more powerful SkyDrive. Over the last year we’ve been hard at work building SkyDrive alongside Windows 8, setting out a unique approach to designing personal cloud storage for billions of people by bringing together the best aspects of file, app, and device clouds. Now, we’re excited to take another big step towards our vision by making SkyDrive far more powerful. There are new storage options, apps that connect your devices to SkyDrive, and a more powerful device cloud that lets you “fetch” any file from a Windows PC. Taken together with access from popular mobile phones and a browser, you can now take your SkyDrive with you anywhere, connect it to any app that works with files and folders, and get all the storage you need—making SkyDrive the most powerful personal cloud storage service available. Read this Monday post on Building Windows 8 to get the rest of the story. Below is a screenshot of SkyDrive across a multitude of devices.

SkyDriveAcrossAllofY_Page

Attention developers! CNET weighs in on how Windows Phone can help raise your profile. In this Monday story, CNET writer Roger Cheng writes, “If you’re a developer looking to make a splash, Windows Phone is the place to do it.” Cheng cites excitement around the Nokia Lumia 900 plus the “combined resources” of Microsoft, Nokia and AT&T. Check it out. Also, be sure to check out this Tuesday post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog about the need for app developers to respond to user input and this April 19 post on launching the Memory Profiler, which shipped with the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.

Memory usage in Windows 8. Previously, we’ve discussed the Metro style application model using Windows Runtime. An important attribute of this app model is that apps are suspended when they are no longer visible to the user. Suspending Metro style apps in the background is a good thing, as it conserves CPU for other apps and ensures that background apps don’t cause activity that can consume resources, thereby improving the battery life and increasing responsiveness. But what about the memory these apps are taking up when suspended? Starting with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, whenever Windows detects memory pressure on the system, it will repurpose nearly all the memory that suspended Metro style apps would otherwise hold onto. Windows 8 can reclaim this memory without having to terminate an app. Want more detail? Check out this April 17 post on Building Windows 8.

Managing “BYO” PCs in the enterprise (including WOA). “With more and more people providing their own hardware for work, the ‘bring your own’ PC is becoming more commonplace and IT Pros want to have the confidence that they can support their clients who follow this trend,” writes Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division. “The presence of BYO does not change the need for IT Pros to manage, secure, and remain accountable for the network assets of an organization, and we all know that written policies can only go so far.” This April 19 post on Building Windows 8 focuses on managing WOA PCs, which are designed with this “consumerization of IT” in mind.

Introducing Windows 8 Enterprise and Enhanced Software Assurance. Last month, we talked about how Windows 8 is Windows reimagined for our business customers. Earlier this week, we shared information on the Windows 8 editions we’ll be making available to customers when Windows 8 becomes generally available. Now, we want to talk about what the Windows 8 Enterprise edition will offer customers when it becomes available, and how the Software Assurance benefits are changing to better meet our customers’ needs. Read this April 18 post on the Windows for Your Business Blog for the rest of the story. Also, don’t miss this April 18 post on what’s next for Windows Intune.

Guidelines for building touch-friendly sites. In Windows 8 Consumer Preview, IE10 enables fast and fluid multi-touch experiences on the Web. Most sites work fine with touch in IE10 with no changes to the site. This post provides four simple guidelines to ensure your customers who use touch can most effectively use your site. We’ve written before about how new input devices and touch screens make the Web more fun, interactive, and immersive. We’ve also talked about the importance of ensuring a no compromise browsing experience in IE10 so the real Web works great with touch. Read this April 20 post on the IEBlog for the rest of the story.

Windows Azure Community News Roundup. Check out the latest edition of our weekly roundup of the latest community-driven news, content and conversations about cloud computing and Windows Azure. Read this April 20 post on the Windows Azure Blog to see the highlights.

Microsoft waives Windows Azure bandwidth fees for university researchers. Microsoft and Internet2 announced on Tuesday a new agreement enabling member universities to take advantage of Windows Azure to open up additional collaborative, instructional and research opportunities in the cloud. The announcement was made at the Spring 2012 Internet2 Member Meeting in Arlington, Va. The agreement is a significant step in making cloud computing more accessible and affordable for all researchers and instructors, and is a key step toward supporting the National Science Foundation’s Data Sharing Policy and Data Management Plan Requirements for the greater research community. Read this press release for the full story.

That’s a wrap for this edition of The Midweek Download! Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog