Weekend Reading: Sept. 7th Edition – A First Look at Two Windows Phone 8 Devices from Nokia & Bing Invites You to Break the Google Habit

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 devices for Windows Phone 8, the Bing It On Challenge – a dare to compare Bing search results head-to-head with Google’s and Xbox 360 keeping its top spot in the U.S. console market.

Announcing the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920. These are exciting times for Windows Phone. In June we showed the first glimpses of Windows Phone 8, our most ambitious release ever. Then Samsung last week unveiled its first Windows Phone 8 device, the sleek ATIV S. Wednesday, everyone here was glued to their screens watching Nokia show off its two gorgeous next-generation Lumias with some great accessories and apps at their press event in New York City. Take a look at just how stunning these new phones are on the Windows Phone Blog announcement and get Lumia 820 and Lumia 920 specs plus an introductory video on Ben Rudolph’s Windows Phone Blog post. Below is a screenshot of the Lumia 820 and 920.

Bing challenges nation to ‘Bing it on.’ Based on research that indicates people prefer Bing Web search results over Google nearly 2-to-1, Bing is inviting consumers to come and see for themselves with an online test designed to show that the quality of Bing’s Web search results has surpassed Google’s. America can click and choose which Web search results it prefers by participating in the Bing It On Challenge. For the rest of the story as well as video, head on over to the Microsoft News Center and the Bing Search Blog.

That’s 20 – Xbox 360 is no. 1 selling console in the U.S. for 20th consecutive month. Xbox 360 maintained its lead in the U.S. console market again last month, marking its 20th consecutive month as the top-selling current-generation console in the U.S., according to The NPD Group. The Official Microsoft Blog has the rest of the story.

Microsoft, fashion and technology. Over the past year, the convergence of fashion and technology is a trend on the rise. It’s fitting then that for New York Fashion Week, Microsoft is teaming up with Bloomingdale’s — a brand synonymous with fashion — to bring the intersection of fashion and technology to life for consumers. You can read more about it over on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Internet Explorer collaborates with musical artists The xx. Over the past couple of months, we’ve had pleasure of working on some amazing projects. On Monday, the Internet Explorer team shared one of our latest collaborations with musical artists The xx on their sophomore album release, titled Coexist. This is the only place you can listen to Coexist prior to the album release on Sept. 11. The experience, which represents the art of digital sharing, is a testament to The xx and their passion to continually push the boundaries of our expectations. Experience it for yourself – check out the Exploring IE blog post.

‘Conversations with the Next Generation’ draws leaders in Charlotte. Wednesday on Xbox LIVE and The Atlantic websites, “Conversations with the Next Generation,” a youth town hall discussion convened in partnership between Microsoft, National Journal and The Atlantic, was held in Charlotte, N.C. during the Democratic National Convention. The event was designed to engage our nation’s current and up-and-coming leaders on the important issues facing America’s young and emerging workforce, including job creation and educational opportunity. Learn more and watch video clips from the town hall in this Microsoft on the Issues post.

How a flexible working program can reduce travel. At Microsoft we see software as an important part of addressing environmental challenges and enabling society to have a better understanding about the natural resource and systems which we depend on. Sometimes those challenges can be as simple as providing people with face-to-face communication without needing to travel. This Sept. 4 Software Enabled Earth blog post shares how Microsoft customer Argyll and Bute Council of Scotland implemented a flexible work program and Microsoft Lync 2010 to improve communication and increase productivity for a very dispersed workforce of 4,000 employees operating from 60 principal sites along 3,000 miles of coastline.

From the “How-to Department”: Charting overview for Office 2013. At the start of the Office 2013 product cycle, we spent a lot of time reflecting on all of the great customer feedback that we received over the years. We also visited many customers to better understand their work habits, true pain points, and unmet needs. The simple conclusion we reached was it’s actually pretty challenging for most users to create and customize charts even with basic datasets. As such, the thrust of the Office 2013 release was to significantly lower the bar for creating and customizing charts. Head on over to the Excel Blog for more information.

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading! Thanks for stopping by The Official Microsoft Blog!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog