The Midweek Download: May 9th Edition–Microsoft Research on Display at CHI 2012, More Windows 8 News, a Windows Phone Case Study, plus Metro Style Apps in Windows 8 & More

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Microsoft Research at CHI 2012, the future of Windows Media Center on Windows 8, and creating rich mobile Web experiences on Windows Phone 7.5, just to name a few. Check ‘em out.

Microsoft Research at CHI 2012. The ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems is taking place this week in Austin, Texas. It’s more well known as CHI and is the premier international conference on human-computer interaction. CHI is always a highlight of Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton’s tech year as the event attracts a wide discipline of skills from the world of design, engineering, management and user experience professionals – and Microsoft Research (MSR) is always there in force. Check out this Monday post on Next that rounds up some of the MSR projects being shown off at CHI, as well as this post on a project that shows dual views on existing LCD displays. Finally, the MIT Technology Review profiled an MSR project known as Soundwave on Monday. Below is a video of the Soundwave project:

Making Windows Media Center available in Windows 8. If you saw our recent post on the Windows 8 editions, then you know already that Windows Media Center will be available in Windows 8. You might also have noticed Windows Media Center is included in Windows 8 Consumer Preview. Media Center has always been the subject of a lot of discussion and feedback in these forums as well as e-mail. Now, we would like to share more details about our plan and the motivations behind it. Read this May 3 post on Building Windows 8 for the whole story and this follow-up FAQ post on DVD playback.

Fast and fluid animations in your Metro style app. Fast and fluid animations bring apps to life. In Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you will notice that animations are an integral part of the user experience. When you log in to your PC, the items in the Start menu animate in. When you launch an immersive app or zoom into the Start menu, the experience is enriched with a smooth animation. Head on over to the Windows 8 App Developer Blog for the rest of the story, which features a short video

Rich mobile Web experiences on Windows Phone 7.5 – the ESPN.com case study. The Windows Phone Browser team has a goal of delivering the best Web browsing experience on a smartphone. This goal has many components within our team: from the UI of the browser, compatibility with a wide array of website layouts, and of course buttery-smooth rendering performance. However, even if we execute flawlessly on our end, we are missing a crucial piece – delivering a great Web experience is fundamentally a partnership between our team and Web developers. Achieving this goal means working together to ensure that your content and services are delightful for users to consume on Windows Phone. For more detail, read this May 2 post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog. Below is a screenshot of the ESPN.com experience on Windows Phone 7.5:

ESPN App Screenshot

Cloud services for Windows 8 and Windows Phone: Windows Live, reimagined. Windows Live was first announced on Nov. 1, 2005, and in our press release we described it as “a set of personal Internet services and software designed to bring together in one place all of the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with more safety and security features across their PC, devices and the Web.” Since that time, we’ve been hard at work building software and services that deliver that promise, a foundation that we could rely on as we designed new versions of Windows as well as other Microsoft products. We’ve received lots of feedback about features and ways we could improve the software and services. And we’ve also received some feedback about the naming and marketing we have done. Windows 8 is a chance for us to act on that feedback and reintroduce you to the broadest and most widely used collection of services on the Internet. Read this May 2 post on Building Windows 8 for the rest of the story.

FISMA becomes latest security certification for Office 365. We’re pleased to announce Office 365 was granted the Authority to Operate under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) by the Broadcasting Board of Governors. FISMA is important to our customers because it creates a process for federal agencies to certify and accredit the security of their information management systems. IT solutions with FISMA certification and accreditation have federal agency approval for their use in line with the level of security established by that agency. Head on over to the Office 365 Blog for more detail.

Updates to Windows Azure Marketplace offer more flexibility and opportunity. Recent updates to the Windows Azure Marketplace promise to make things a little bit easier for publishers, developers and their customers. Read this May 4 post on the Windows Azure Blog for the whole story. And don’t miss the latest edition of the Windows Azure Community News Roundup.

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

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog