Weekend Reading: Jan. 25th Edition – The Samsung ATIV Odyssey & Nokia Lumia 822 Arrive at Verizon

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the Samsung ATIV Odyssey and red-hot Nokia Lumia 822 from Verizon, the Feb. 9 arrival of Surface Windows 8 Pro, plus photography apps that will make you love your Windows Phone even more.

Samsung ATIV Odyssey arrives at Verizon. Plus: A Lumia for Valentine’s Day. Sweet news for Verizon Wireless subscribers: As of yesterday, you have two more great and affordable Windows Phones to choose from. As promised, the Samsung ATIV Odyssey made its much-awaited debut. Buy it here. The third Windows Phone 8 model in the company’s 4G LTE lineup runs $49.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and new two-year contact. It features a 4-inch 800×480 Super AMOLED display, 5-megapixel rear camera with full 1080p recording and playback capability, 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and 2100mAh battery. And to further sweeten the pot, Verizon also started selling a flashy red Nokia Lumia 822, pictured at right below. Get all the details in yesterday’s post on the Windows Phone Blog and watch the video below.

Growing the Surface family: Surface Windows 8 Pro availability confirmed. Ever since we launched Surface Windows RT late last year, it’s been exciting to see the ongoing customer response to this amazing device. We are also pumped about all the anticipation and excitement in regards to Surface Windows 8 Pro. There have been a tremendous amount of questions to date, and on Tuesday, Microsoft announced the date of availability. Surface Windows 8 Pro will be available in the U.S. and Canada starting on Feb. 9 through all Microsoft retail stores, microsoftstore.com and at Staples and Best Buy in the U.S. as well as from a number of locations in Canada. For the rest of the story, head over to Microsoft Surface General Manager Panos Panay’s Tuesday post on The Official Microsoft Blog.

Internet Explorer, our favorite 90s comeback. Last year was a pretty great one for Internet Explorer. From hitting a year high on worldwide share to making some new friends like Officer Cupcake and Eugene Filon, we poked some fun at our past while helping the skeptics learn about the latest version of IE. Performance tests continued to show Internet Explorer 10 as the fastest browser on Windows 8 and security reports showed it was also the best browser to protect users from malware. Which is why we thought it was time to invite those of you who haven’t thought about Internet Explorer in a while to watch the video below and take a trip down memory lane. Learn more about IE’s comeback this Wednesday post on the Exploring IE blog.

Five essential Windows Phone apps for photographers. Smartphone cameras are more than just a convenience. As David Chen’s monthly photo challenge makes clear, they’ve emerged as a serious tool for photographers and as an artistic genre all their own. Windows Phone blogger Michael Stroh says what he loves about Windows Phone 8 and his Lumia 920 from Nokia is that both were designed with mobile photography in mind. Windows Phone 8 introduces lenses, camera apps that plug into your phone’s viewfinder and potentially give it all kinds of crazy new powers. The images below show Photoroom, which offers 18 editing effects and more than 50 filters. To see more cool photography apps, check out Stroh’s Wednesday post on the Windows Phone Blog. And if you’re scouting photography locations, try Nokia’s turn-by-turn app Drive+ Beta.

Update on Windows 8 pricing. We are seeing good momentum with Windows 8. When upgrading from Windows 7, Windows 8 has a lot to offer including a beautiful new Start screen with live tiles, plus the familiar desktop and faster startup and longer battery life. On Jan. 18, Brandon LeBlanc of the Windows team shared pricing details for the Windows 8 upgrade editions that will begin in February. Head on over to the Blogging Windows blog for info and be sure to take advantage of the great upgrade offer, which lasts until Jan. 31.

From woolly worms to a world of opportunities: Jeremy’s story. How do you bring Computer Science education to students in schools that don’t have the resources or budget to provide it? “Technology is where he wants to be … he learned what he could on his own, but then he didn’t know where to go from there. He didn’t even know how to go from there.” This is how Tammy Moore described the challenges her son, Jeremy, faced as he tried to turn his interest in computers into something that might help him in the future. Take a look at the video below to see how TEALS, a Microsoft YouthSpark program, has helped Jeremy envision a new future. To learn more about Jeremy and the program, head over to Wednesday’s post on the Corporate Citizenship blog.

Nokia 3-D printing challenge. Nokia has a reputation for design that’s bold and cutting-edge, with a touch of whimsy. The novelty of the Nokia 5110’s removable faceplates is one example, a feature that was reintroduced with the Lumia 820. In his Tuesday post, Next at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton says Nokia is taking that idea a step further with the 3D Printing Challenge, which has generated a fair amount of interest since being announced last week. Pictured below is Makerbot’s own contribution to the competition. Those of you with a 3-D printer can now design and create your own Lumia 820 cases and submit them to Nokia for consideration. Read about it on Next at Microsoft.

Visualize your Access 2013 Web app data in Excel. After you start organizing your data with Access 2013 Web apps, you may find yourself wishing to visualize or summarize it. For example, imagine you are tracking your deal pipeline in Access, including when you expect to get paid and how much. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make a visual graph of these projections to help you make decisions?

That’s where external data connections come in handy. By following a few simple steps, you can connect an Excel workbook directly to the SQL Server database that stores the information in your Access 2013 Web app. To learn for yourself, head over to this Tuesday post on Access Blog.

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