Weekend Reading: May 16th Edition — New cloud services highlighted at TechEd North America and the Windows Store gets an update

In this edition of Weekend Reading, we’ve got stories about new services announced at TechEd 2014 that will remove barriers to cloud adoption, a refresh of the Windows Store that makes it easier to find apps, and new apps and games like “Wordament Snap Attack” and “Spider-Man 2.”

At TechEd North America 2014 in Houston, Microsoft announced new services, products and partnerships that remove the barriers to cloud adoption for IT professionals, developers and technology users. To connect on-premises technology with the public cloud, Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute, as well as other enhanced computing and networking capabilities. Microsoft also introduced a preview of Azure Files, a new technology that simplifies how files can be shared in the cloud across applications and services.

The Windows Store update, which started rolling out Tuesday, makes it easier for you to find the apps you want for your Windows PC or tablet. Now you’ll see a persistent navigation bar with chart-toppers that also gives you categories and collections to search through. Publishers will also now be able to link paid apps, so that if you buy an app once, you can get it across your Windows devices. App developers also benefit from the store update. They can now enable price promotions on their apps and amend Windows Store policies for phone, tablet and PC apps to make it easier for customers to discover their apps.

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The Windows Store update makes it easier to find apps.

It was a fine, fun week for apps. Staff picks included word puzzler “Wordament Snap Attack” available for Windows and Windows Phone, stock- and market-tracking app TradingView and the Jo-Ann app for Windows Phone from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores (do not miss the great coupons in the app!). The updated Spotify app for Windows Phone includes a spiffy redesign, Spotify Radio and top playlists. If your Spidey sense was tingling, that’s because “Spider-Man 2” is now available for Windows Phone. MTV fans will be happy to know that they can enjoy MTV programming on Windows devices with the free MTV Shows app for all Windows devices. Essential Anatomy 3 features easy-to-navigate 3D imaging of the human body, delivering accurate anatomical models for students and medical practitioners using Windows PCs and tablets. And if you always liked the crackling sound of walkie-talkies, you can turn your Windows Phone into one with Zello, using Wi-Fi.

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Updated Spotify app for Windows Phone.

The Lumia 630, the first smartphone to come with Windows Phone 8.1, went on sale this week in Asia, with Europe up next, then the U.S. The phone is also offered in a dual-SIM version for those who want to keep their personal information on one SIM card and business-related information on the second card, for example. The Lumia 630, with a quad-core Snapdragon processor and ClearBlack 4.5-inch LCD screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, also introduces the new low-power SensorCore feature, which can monitor your movements in real-time.

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The Lumia 630.

To make it even easier to see the email that matters to you, Outlook.com added new organization features. “Advanced Rules” gives you more customized control over how your emails are sorted, filed or bumped to the top of your inbox. For example, you can create a rule that if an unread email is older than 3 days and is from one of your contacts, it can be marked as important and flagged to bring any emails you missed from people you know to the top of your inbox. There’s also “Undo” for those times when you may have accidentally zapped an email to the trash or to the wrong folder. Another new feature, “In-line reply,” lets you directly respond to an email thread without having to launch a reply message.

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One click on the new “Undo” button, or Ctrl+Z, makes it easy to undelete an email you might have mistakenly put in the trash.

Starting in June, we’re bringing more value to Xbox Live Gold membersand offering all Xbox 360 and Xbox One owners access to entertainment apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Machinima and Twitch, whether or not they have an Xbox Live Gold membership. Xbox Live Gold will get even better, with Games with Gold and Deals with Gold coming to Xbox One, so a single Gold membership will get you free games and discounts on games and content in the Xbox Store for both the Xbox One and Xbox 360.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we profiled Amy Stevenson, the official Microsoft archivist. Explore the Microsoft Archives, and tell us your story using #ICreatedThis.

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Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Get some good R&R in — Monday comes around fast enough!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff