Weekend Reading: May 3rd Edition–Outlook.com hits 400M active accounts, adds new features

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on new features in Outlook.com, the release of the “Star Trek Into Darkness” app for Windows Phone (among a bevy of new apps made available this week), Bing Rewards expanding to MSN and a hilarious new Windows Phone ad. Check ‘em out!

Outlook.com: 400 million active accounts. On Thursday, we announced that we’ve completed upgrading all Hotmail customers to Outlook.com. Coupled with the growing organic excitement for Outlook.com, this has pushed us to more than 400 million active Outlook.com accounts, including 125 million that are accessing email, calendar and contacts on a mobile device using Exchange ActiveSync. We’re also pleased to announce that we’re adding two new features to Outlook.com: SMTP send, so it’s easier to send mail from different email addresses, and deeper integration with SkyDrive. Read this post over on the Outlook Blog for the full story.

Outlook.com Screenshot

“Star Trek Into Darkness” beams into the Windows Phone Store. The latest Star Trek installment, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” lands in theaters May 17, but the free and official Windows Phone 8 companion app is here now. Beam it down. Like Tribbles, movie tie-in apps aren’t always worth the trouble. But any fan of the franchise will want this one. Trekkers get the latest movie news—including exclusives available only through the app—and can enter giveaways to win an official Starfleet uniform and other movie memorabilia. If you don’t already have one yet, you can also buy a ticket for the May 15 IMAX sneak preview via the app. The trivia quizzes and polls are a fun way to kill time while you’re counting down the days. Read more about it over on the Windows Phone Blog. In other app news, check out this post on the re-launch of Angry Birds (with 100 new levels that are free until May 15) and this post on joining the Facebook for Windows Phone Beta app program. Finally, you won’t want to miss Ben Rudolph’s hands-on deep dive with the Nokia Lumia 521. Below are a few screenshots from the new “Star Trek Into Darkness” app.

 

Bing Rewards expands to MSN. Starting today in the U.S., you will be able to earn Bing Rewards credits by exploring and discovering new ways MSN keeps you in the know. Bing Rewards members are now able to keep track of their credit balance right from the MSN homepage. From getting things done with the help of Bing’s search results to catching up on the news that matters most to you on MSN, we’re delighted to enhance the benefits and experience of using both Bing and MSN every day. For more on this story, read today’s post on the Bing Search Blog. Also in Bing news this week, we released an updated version of the Bing Weather app, which you can also read more about over on the Bing Search Blog. Below is a screenshot of the updated app.

Weather---China_53B57545

Three smartphones and a wedding. A new Windows Phone ad released on Monday offers a humorous take on the fine line between romance and mayhem, depicting a wedding completely derailed by an all-out brawl between smartphone loyalists. You can watch the full spot below, and read this post on the Windows Phone Blog to learn more.

Type less. Talk more. Make Skype calls directly from your Outlook.com inbox. On Monday, Microsoft rolled out a preview version of Skype for Outlook.com, bringing two great communication experiences together — all in one place! As part of our commitment to bring you the very best ways to communicate, this Skype for Outlook.com preview is beginning to roll out in the United Kingdom and will be made available in the United States and Germany in the coming weeks. Head on over to Skype’s Big Blog for the full story and be sure to watch the video below.

State of Maine switches students to Windows PCs. The Microsoft in Education blog on Tuesday shared the news that the State of Maine has selected the HP ProBook 4440 running Windows 8 as the learning device of choice for all 7th and 8th grade middle school students. This is a watershed moment as Maine has the only statewide-led 1:1 computing program for schools in the United States. Check out the story over on the Microsoft in Education 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