Weekend Reading: May 24th Edition – The world meets Xbox One, and Windows Azure heads to Asia

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories on the unveiling of Xbox One, Microsoft expanding Windows Azure across Asia, new HP Windows 8 PCs coming soon, plus Windows Phone apps for work and play.

Xbox One, unveiled. On Tuesday, in an event live-streamed across the globe, Microsoft lifted the veil on Xbox One – the all-in-one games and entertainment system that’s designed to put you at the center of all your games, TV, movies, music, sports and Skype. The event also revealed games for Xbox One, an exclusive agreement with the NFL, and Skype for Xbox One, which will let you play your Xbox games, apps and live TV with friends and family using Skype. Keep watching the Xbox Wire blog for details, images and video, and check out the making of Xbox One – an architect panel hosted by Major Nelson.

Microsoft announces major expansion of Windows Azure services in Asia. As the worldwide demand for cloud computing continues to grow, so does Windows Azure. Microsoft is the only at-scale global public cloud provider to deliver a hybrid cloud advantage and we’re excited to announce plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the Windows Azure footprint in Asia – specifically in China, Japan and Australia. Learn how Microsoft is working to satisfy cloud computing needs Asia and the world in Wednesday’s Official Microsoft Blog post from Satya Nadella, president of Server & Tools Business at Microsoft.

The new generation Kinect for Windows Sensor is coming next year. By now, most of you likely have heard about the new Kinect sensor that Microsoft will deliver as part of Xbox One later this year. Yesterday, the Kinect for Windows team announced that Microsoft will also deliver a new generation Kinect for Windows sensor next year. In his post, Kinect for Windows Director Bob Heddle said, “We’re continuing our commitment to equipping businesses and organizations with the latest natural technology from Microsoft so that they, in turn, can develop and deploy innovative touch-free applications for their businesses and customers.” The image below demonstrates the enhanced fidelity and depth perception the new Kinect sensor will offer. Preview some of the other capabilities coming with the new sensor in this post on the Kinect for Windows Blog.

Major League Soccer and Windows 8 bring fans ‘the smartest league’ experience. Microsoft and Major League Soccer (MLS) announced a multiyear agreement to work together to bring MLS fans the best and fastest soccer content through the power of Windows 8. The announcement took place Sunday at the LA Galaxy versus New York Red Bulls game at Red Bull Arena, where the two companies showcased a new and improved MLS app and previewed the new in-stadium fan experiences powered by Windows 8. There’s a shot of the app below. For more of the story, head over to Microsoft News Center, and check out Brandon LeBlanc’s post on the Windows Experience Blog.

HP unveils a bunch of new Windows 8 PCs. HP announced new Windows 8 PCs yesterday – including a brand new portable all-in-one PC called the HP ENVY Rove 20 (pictured below). The HP ENVY Rove 20 is a portable all-in-one PC designed for the entire family. It can be used as a desktop PC or can be easily moved into the living room to enjoy multi-player games, or used in the kitchen while cooking a favorite recipe using one of the many cooking apps from the Windows Store like HP Recipe Box. Get specs and availability details on the HP ENVY Rove 20 and HP’s other newly unveiled PCs in yesterday’s post on the Windows Experience Blog. You might also want to take a look at the HP Split x2.

Windows Phone apps for work and play. For mobile fun, it’s been a great week for Xbox games from Electronic Arts, with four titles previously available only to Nokia owners now available to everyone and four new Nokia exclusives hitting the Windows Phone Store. All Windows Phone users can now test their driving and parking skills in the spatial-awareness “Parking Mania” ($2.99). If you love classic board games, you’ve got to try “The Game of Life” ($2.99). Sneak, scamper, and snack your way on an epic journey in “SPY Mouse” ($2.99). Read about these games in Michael Stroh’s Wednesday post on the Windows Phone Blog. And when you’re ready to get back to business, take a look at Splashtop 2 – a great new app that provides mobile access to your computer and files on the fly.

Forza Motorsport 5 revs up for Xbox One launch. With an exciting week coming into the rearview mirror, and a 3-day weekend stretching out ahead here in the US, the timing was perfect for a return to the Next at Microsoft blog’s time-honored tradition of Forza Fridays. That’s right, the good folks at Xbox are including Forza Motorsport 5 in the slate of games that will be available when Xbox One launches. Next Editor and diehard Forza fan Steve Clayton said, “I for one was blown away by the slick and very cinematic trailer they released, and can’t wait take this bad boy for a spin.” You can check out the video below or head over to today’s post on Next at Microsoft.

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