Weekend Reading: March 1st Edition – Nokia Unveils Its New Lumia Phones & Catch the Sunday Premiere Broadcast for Gears of War: Judgment

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the great Windows 8 phones and apps announced this week during Mobile World Congress and some must-see Sunday entertainment – the Gears of War: Judgment premiere arrives.

Windows Phone 8 at Mobile World Congress. Nokia had a busy press conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The company announced new Windows Phone 8 models, the availability of its popular location apps and services to more Windows Phones and tantalizing details about new partnerships and initiatives in the works. Here’s a rundown of what you missed. Nokia’s Windows Phone 8 portfolio already includes the Lumia 620, 820, and flagship 920. On Monday, in an effort to put more phones into more people’s hands around the globe, the company said it’s adding two new models to its Lumia lineup: the 520 and 720. Pictured below is the Lumia 520. For more on this story, head to Monday’s Windows Phone Blog post.

Xbox LIVE world premiere broadcast for Gears of War: Judgment, Sunday, March 3! Join Major Nelson March 3 at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT for the Gears of War: Judgment world premiere live event streamed over Xbox LIVE to your Xbox 360 console. Developers from Epic Games will be on hand to debut brand new, never-before-seen reveals including Aftermath and Survival Mode. Major Nelson will be hosting the event and we will allow viewers to vote live during the show for the gameplay you want to see and get your questions answered during interactive interviews with Epic’s Chris Wynn and Alan Van Slyke by tagging your questions on Twitter with #GearsJudgment. PLUS, we’re giving away a custom Gears of War: Judgment Xbox 360 console as well copies of the game. Get the rules and details in Tuesday’s post on Major Nelson’s blog and check out the preview video below.

Internet Explorer 10 now available for more than 700M Windows customers. On Tuesday, we announced the availability of IE10 for Windows 7, bringing the most modern and high-performing version of IE to over 700M Windows customers. IE10 delivers a 20% increase in real-world site performance over IE9, making IE10 the fastest modern browser on the market according to third parties.

IE10’s advancements run deep, from a 60% increase in supported modern Web standards to industry leading security, privacy and reliability that makes IE the browser of choice for millions of Windows customers worldwide. Find out what it means for those 700M in this Tuesday post on the Exploring IE blog and check out the demo video below featuring singer, songwriter and composer Blake Lewis.

Maluuba, a voice-activated personal assistant, comes to Windows Phone 8. Billed by one reviewer as “like Siri—without the backtalk,” Maluuba is a free voice-powered personal assistant app that’s designed to help you manage your day and find stuff easily, just by talking to your phone. Download it now. Maluuba can help schedule appointments, place calls, check the weather, find businesses and restaurants, discover concerts and nearby events, find online shopping results, set reminders, play songs from your music library and more. Just speak naturally and say things like, “Where can I find sushi restaurants nearby?” or “Remind me to pick up the dry cleaning tomorrow at 5:30pm”—and watch Maluuba get to work. For more on Maluuba, head over to the Wednesday post on the Windows Phone Blog.

Now showing at a theater near you: The Windows Phone Challenge. It’s not Star Wars, but the battle scenes are just as epic. Our popular Windows Phone Challenge video series, which pits Windows Phone 8 against other well-known smartphones, is back on the big screen. From now through March 28, look for new content playing at top theater chains nationwide, including Lowes, Regal, AMC, and Cinemark. The episode appears as part of NCM Media Network’s FirstLook preshow entertainment segment—you know, the fun stuff that plays just before they tell you to turn off your phone. Get the rest of the story in Wednesday’s Windows Phone Blog post and witness a challenge between a Galaxy S3 owner and the Nokia Lumia 920 in the video below.

Around the world with Windows Store apps. From a physics Ph.D. student-turned-app builder to chimps launching an indie game studio, app builders across the globe are bringing amazing experiences to Windows 8 and enjoying success along the way. The image below shows Music Maker Jam by MAGIX (Germany), which offers anytime, anywhere song mixing. Check out Music Maker Jam and other cool apps from developers around the world in this Tuesday slideshow feature on the Microsoft News Center.

What are reviewers calling ‘feature-rich,’ ‘stunning,’ and ‘game-changing’? Office 365! It’s been said that “a dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” We’re honored to see all of our sweat, determination, and hard work pay off with the great reviews that the new Office has garnered since Microsoft released Office 365 Home Premium to customers last month. Already, Office 365 is racking up the awards. PC Magazine gave Office 365 Home Premium its Editors’ Choice award, saying “most of the changes are extremely positive.” Likewise, ITProPortal gave Office 365 Home Premium its “Best Buy Award,” saying it “trounces the competition from Google Docs.” For more on the story, take a look at the Tuesday’s post on the Office 365 Blog

The Motley Fool arrives on MSN Money with Investor Beat. On Tuesday, The Motley Fool a leading resource for individual investors launched its first daily online show, Investor Beat on MSN Money (image below). Investor Beat is a fast-paced, forward-looking and occasionally irreverent market commentary from the editors and analysts at The Motley Fool. They will share their expert opinion on the day’s business headlines along with actionable investing advice—delivered in the same patently Foolish way that has made The Motley Fool the go-to resource for individual investors in print and online for nearly two decades. Check out Tuesday’s post over on the MSN Blog for more.

And just in case you missed it, Yammer announces message translation to ignite multilingual collaboration.

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