The Midweek Download: Aug. 8th Edition – Windows Phone Dev Center, Apps for new Office, and Netflix for Kids on Xbox

Windows Phone Dev Center Launches. Yesterday, the Windows Phone team unveiled the Windows Phone Dev Center, a turnkey resource for developers to build, publish and manage apps for Windows Phones. The new resource has been redesigned to help make it faster and easier for developers to use. The team also completed a lot of back-end work to improve performance, and has extended the reach of apps across many more countries and regions. The team built many more features into the system, so check out the post from the Windows Phone team for more details.

KinÊtre Breathes Life Into Your Favorite Inanimate Objects. Some of you may remember the classic scene from Fantasia, where Mickey Mouse dons a wizard’s cap and brings to life an army of brooms to help clean up the wizard’s workshop. Now, a new project from Microsoft Research gives you the power to do the same thing. KinÊtre uses the power of Kinect for Windows to let you bring to life your favorite chair, a desk or even a bookshelf that Kinect scans. It’s something you really have to see to appreciate, so check out the post and video on the Next blog to see how this amazing technology works. 

Build 2012 Sells out in One Hour. A reported by Mary Jo Foley, Build 2012 – Microsoft’s upcoming conference for developers – has sold out. It’s great to see such interest from the developer community, but apologies to those that didn’t get their registration in. For those still interested, you can still go to the BUILD web site and sign up for a wait list you can sign up for should any spots come available. 

Building Apps for the new Office and SharePoint. The Office team wrote a detailed post this week about the new app model for Office, which has been designed to take the familiar model of creating apps and applying it to how developers can create custom apps for Office using the same technologies and process they’d use for other platforms. The team also announced the new Office Store for developers to publish and sell apps, and for Office users to have a central place to discover and download apps in a safe, secure manner. 

Netflix for Kids Released on Xbox 360. A great new feature just came to Xbox 360 … Netflix “Just for Kids”. Available to Netflix users and Xbox LIVE Gold subscribers, it’s a variation on their familiar UI for browsing and finding movies, but customized to make it easy for your kids to navigate, and of course filtered to only show shows and movies they’d be interested in. One of the coolest features is the ability to navigate by character vs. show, so the all-familiar yellow square of Spongebob Squarepants or Curious Goeorge comes to the for vs. a boxshot of the show or movie. You can read more about it from Major Nelson’s blog

Azure Plugin for WordPress Updated. For fans of WordPress, the Microsoft Open Technologies team announced an update to the Windows Azure Storage Plugin. The plugin, which allows you to use Windows Azure Storage Services to host media files for a blog, now uses the Windows Azure SDK for PHP. The plugin is open source, so developers can add additional features to help make the plugin even better. 

That’s all for this week – thanks for reading!

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