Weekend Reading: Aug. 15th Edition — Xbox ignites gamescom, Satya Nadella names Hackathon winner, gets ice bath

We soared this week with big news for gamers, the naming of Hackathon and Microsoft Ventures winners, and the announcement of a high-flying partnership with a major airline. Read on!

It was wall-to-wall Xbox at gamescom 2014, Europe’s biggest video games expo. The platform showcased its stellar portfolio of exclusive games, while inviting the next generation of gamers to play with a family of bundles featuring some of the hottest games of the year like “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Sunset Overdrive,” and “FIFA 15.”

The Eye Gaze team beat out 3,000 other projects to be crowned the first ever //oneweek Hackathon grand prize winner. They got an audience with Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and momentum for their effort to use Surface 3, Kinect and other Microsoft technologies to give independence to people with disabilities. The Eye Gaze team set their sights on helping Steve Gleason, a former pro football player who is living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Ice Bucket Challenge

And if the Hackathon wasn’t exciting enough, Microsoft technology was also showcased this week in an announcement that Saudi Airlines is using Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Power BI for Office 365, Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 to improve the way it does business. Said Muhammad Albakri, Saudi Airlines’ executive vice president of finance: “For us, the new BI solution is like turning on the headlights of a car on a curvy, dark road.”

Speaking of business, Microsoft Ventures named 10 companies to participate in its first Accelerator, a partnership with American Family Insurance that aims to give start-ups a leg-up by providing them the mentorship, tools and connections necessary to grow and succeed. The companies will focus on home innovation using the Internet of Things.

In other news, the Microsoft Devices Group unveiled the Nokia 130, an ultra-affordable mobile phone designed to introduce millions of people to new digital experiences. The phone, which will be available in select markets — including China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Vietnam — has a built-in video and music player, 1.8-inch color display and up to 36 days of standby battery life.

In Apps this week, keep track of your friends using Swarm, the latest installment from the folks who brought you Foursquare. Or, to connect virtually, try GroupMe. Because it’s that time of year, again (already), the Windows Store has a back-to-school collection of apps including online education tool Khan Academy; MathBoard, number fun for school-age children; and Bamboo Paper, which turns your Windows 8 tablet into a paper notebook so you can write, sketch and doodle to your heart’s content. For the older set, there’s Varsity Quad to help you prep for— and ace — those exams. Also, just in time for fall, the redesigned NFL Fantasy Football app for Windows Phone. If you’re more game-show than “game-day,” check out “Jeopardy!” for Windows PCs and tablets.


This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we challenged fans to tweet an #8WordEssay about this photo, for a chance to win a Dell Venue 8 Pro prize pack. Join us on our page for more info on how to win.


From Snaps, Mount Everest pierces the cloud ceiling in this shot by National Geographic photographer Stephen Alvarez, taken from the summit of Kala Pattar, Nepal using a Lumia 1520. New heights indeed.


Wishing you some high-flying fun this weekend. See you back here, next Friday.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

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