This week, we’ve got stories about technology that will help both retailers and customers with the information they need and want; new affordable Lumia smartphones with Windows Phone 8.1 on board; and an important date for developers to mark on their calendars to register for Build 2015.
Hardee’s and other companies are harnessing the power of Windows to do everything from providing self-service kiosks where customers can order up their burgers (yes, with fries, please!) – and get them faster – to creating a smart shelf and a tablet-enabled shopping cart. Microsoft shared the announcements at the National Retail Federation annual convention in New York City. Also announced: PayPal Here and Microsoft Surface are joining together to streamline point-of-sale solutions for small businesses. A new PayPal Here card reader and PayPal Here app for Windows 8.1 will be available later this year to business customers in the United States. Surface Pro 3’s lightweight, mobile design, with touch and ink capability, makes it “perfect for point-of-sale (POS),” says Cyril Belikoff, Microsoft Surface senior director.
New affordable and powerful Lumias were introduced: the Lumia 435 and the Lumia 532. The intuitive Lumia 435 is Microsoft’s first 400-series and the most affordable Lumia yet, while the Lumia 532 is a more powerful device thanks to its quad-core processor. Both phones come with the latest Windows Phone 8.1 operating system, the Lumia Denim Update, Microsoft’s Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote), Outlook for email, Skype integration and a front-facing camera for Skype video calling, HERE location services and up to 30GB of free cloud storage on OneDrive. The Lumia 435 and Lumia 532 will begin rolling out in February in select countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, India, the Middle East and Africa.
Get ready to build stuff! Registration opens at 9 a.m. PT on Jan. 22 for the Build 2015 developer conference, April 29 to May 1 in San Francisco. “This year’s Build will lay out how you can be the most productive and creative developer you can be and showcase the latest tools and technologies you’ll be using to get it done,” writes Steve Guggenheimer, Microsoft corporate vice president, Developer Experience & Evangelism, and Chief Evangelist. To learn more, visit http://www.buildwindows.com.
France is home to 31-year-old Windows Phone app developer Rudy Huyn, but the world is his domain. The creator of the popular Fuse app and many others tells writer Emily Alhadeff that his grandfather painted a lot. Making apps, Huyn says, is “exactly the same thing. Except I have no brushes, no white paper. I just have my PC, my page, and I create something from that. Developers are just artists. We’re just numeric artists.”
Speaking of apps, lots of fun and helpful ones to check out: PhotoMath, free, for Windows Phone, gives students a tool by which they can learn math step-by-step, and figure out challenging equations. And it’s not just for kids; parents can use the app to check their children’s homework. The free tado app, for Windows Phone, automatically adjusts the temperature in your home based on your daily routine, potentially saving you up to 31 percent off heating bills. The latest Pandora update to Windows Phone adds voice commands, a new sleep timer and recommended stations. In “Zombie’s Got a Pogo,” a free game for Windows Phone, you help a tough, but likable, undead character get through numerous obstacle courses and deadly pitfalls while helping him keep his head … intact. And don’t miss this week’s Red Stripe Deals, with savings of more than 50 percent off on “Assassin’s Creed Pirates,” Big Mountain Snowboarding,” “WeatherFlow” and more.
Whether you’re at home or the office, you’ll appreciate these changes: With the new Save to One Drive feature rolling out to Outlook.com users worldwide, it takes only one click to save Outlook.com email attachments, such as documents, pictures, music or videos, to OneDrive, giving you access to those attachments wherever you get online. Meanwhile, Office Online, which has made several improvements over the past year to provide an even better accessibility experience, will be rolling out support for virtual reading for documents (up to three pages) in Word Online and OneNote Online – no cursor involved. And if you’re an educator don’t miss checking out a new site, OneNoteforTeachers.com, that includes interactive training about basic tasks, advanced scenarios that might involve Office 365, and OneNote class notebooks, all in the form of narrated, interactive guides with customizable timing options.
De-lish: The fourth volume of the “Microsoft Cookbook” is out, and it’s more than just a place to find recipes from the company’s employees; it’s “as much about the stories behind the recipes as it is about the recipes themselves,” writes Aimee Riordan. The cookbook, which in earlier volumes has won several Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, will soon be available online for the first time, on MSN Food & Drink, as well as part of the MSN Food & Drink app. All proceeds from cookbook sales benefit FareStart, a Seattle nonprofit, culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals.
This week in our global adventure highlighting people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we met Loretta di Simone, who helped bring her family’s 200-year-old Italian farm into the 21st century. Follow us on Instagram to hear her story and meet more people like her.
That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. I don’t know about you, but – burgers, Pacific Halibut Ceviche, an Italian farm… It’s time to eat – and to relax. See you next week!
Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff
Tags: accessibility, Apps, build 2015, developers, education, Games, Instagram, Lumia 435, Lumia 532, National Retail Federation, Office, Office online, OneDrive, OneNote, outlook.com, Surface Pro 3, Windows, Windows Phone, WR