Weekend Reading: July 26th Edition–Introducing the Nokia Lumia 625 and its big-screen appeal

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we show off the latest batch of devices available for Windows Phone 8 (including Nokia’s biggest screen yet for Windows Phone), programs from Microsoft that reward bug finders and game developers and a great slideshow of 10 cool tech tools for students.

Windows Phone 8 continues to roll out on more models, with the Nokia Lumia 625 grabbing attention for its awe inspiring screen. Targeted for international markets, it comes in a rainbow of colors, has a ginormous 4.7-inch LCD display (the biggest one Nokia has for a Windows Phone) and is 4G LTE ready, according to the Windows Phone Blog. But here at home, customers have plenty of choices, too, such as Sprint’s first Windows Phone 8 device, the HTC 8XT, and AT&T’s prepaid Nokia Lumia 520 for $100. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is also drawing shutterbugs like moths to the flame with its 41-megapixels, and they’re getting creative with showing how good it is, such as this footage from a concert atop Seattle’s Space Needle. Below is a screenshot of the Lumia 625.

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Microsoft is also giving away big rewards to bug finders and game developers. Microsoft has rolled out new bounty programs that encourage security researchers and hackers to search for vulnerabilities and techniques that get past defenses in Internet Explorer 11 Preview and Windows 8.1 Preview. In return, they get paid – anywhere from $500 to $11,000 for the IE bugs, and up to $100,000 for a truly novel exploitation technique (with a live demo next week at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas). If they come up with a defense to those techniques, they can also receive a $50,000 bonus. And for game developers, there’s $100,000 in cash and prizes now available through a recently announced collaboration between Microsoft and Unity.

While summer is still in full swing, parents might already be looking for back to school must-haves. We have a slideshow of 10 cool tech tools for students that might help narrow down those choices. You can also win your favorite Windows 8 PC and a one-year subscription to Office 365 Home Premium with the #MSFTback2school Twitter sweepstakes. One recent college grad took her favorite Windows 8 PC – her Surface RT – on a dream trip to Vietnam. And there’s even more good news for students: For the next 100 students who fulfill their PC funding amount before Sept. 1, Windows and Microsoft Citizenship will give away one PC to Year Up, an organization dedicated to empowering urban talent. In this expansion of the Windows Chip-in program, when you buy one, Microsoft will give one.

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It was a busy week for Microsoft Research, delivering 19 new research papers and two emerging technology demos to 20,000 attendees at SIGGRAPH 2013, the 40th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. MSR also unveiled a new Video Library app for Windows 8, with more than 4,000 interviews, lectures and more by a wide range of tech luminaries. NEXT at Microsoft Editor Steve Clayton caught up with Clay Shirky last week at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit. The two had a fascinating conversation on technology and culture, recorded in this edited transcript with audio clips posted on NEXT.

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In the games and apps front, Xbox game trailers tantalize fans, and Fresh Paint arrives on Windows Phone 8. The “Batman: Arkham Origins” trailer introduces Copperhead and the “Splinter Cell: Blacklist Transformation” trailer makes you believe the protagonist is everywhere. At the Comic-Con Expo, this “Dead Rising 3” documentary takes you behind the scenes. And on your TV screen, CNET has arrived as a Xbox SmartGlass app, as has the free series “The Awesomes,” on Xbox. “The Awesomes” is exclusive to Xbox users until Aug. 1, when it’s released on Hulu Plus. On Windows Phone 8, Fresh Paint made its debut (with a sneak peek to the new version also available through the Windows 8.1 Preview), as well as the Today Show app.

Several games were also added to Windows Phone 8’s increasingly fun roster: “Crazy Machines Golden Gears,” “Flight Control Rocket” and ”Blobster.”

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Finally, over on Microsoft’s Facebook page, there’s a gorgeous video of a 97-year-old artist who discovered Microsoft Paint after he retired, and reinvented himself as The Pixel Painter.

The Pixel Painter from The Pixel Painter on Vimeo.

Thanks for tuning into the latest Weekend Reading. Hope the summer is treating you right, wherever you are!

Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff