Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Reading, with stories about Mobile World Congress, the Game Developers Conference and the new preview of Office 2016 for Mac.
At Mobile World Congress, Microsoft racked up 10 awards, including Best Mobile Tablet (Surface Pro 3), Best of Mobile World Congress 2015 (Lumia 640) and Top Pick of Mobile World Congress 2015 (Lumia 640 XL). Microsoft announced the two new, affordable Lumia phones at the event. The devices “give people the flexibility to do more anywhere, and at any time,” writes Stephen Elop, executive vice president of the Microsoft Devices Group, in a blog post. At MWC, Microsoft also unveiled a super-lightweight universal keyboard that works with iPads, iPhones, Android devices and Windows tablets. That innovative Universal Foldable Keyboard was awarded Best of Mobile World Congress 2015. If you missed any of this year’s MWC, the Lumia Conversations blog provides a recap.
At Wednesday’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox at Microsoft, announced that the Xbox Live SDK for Windows 10 will soon be in the hands of a broader set of developers. It’s part of the company unified vision for gaming across Windows 10 devices. Spencer also talked about what’s next for Xbox and Windows 10. Also at GDC Thursday, Microsoft and Motiga announced a partnership to publish “Gigantic” for Windows 10 and Xbox One later this year – and it’ll be free to play. More than 30 developers bringing their games to Xbox One via the ID@Xbox program are sharing previews and details at GDC, too.
A preview of the new Office 2016 for Mac is now available. Powered by the cloud, this productivity suite provides access to your documents anytime, anywhere and on any device. Similar to recent announcements of Office for Windows 10 and Office for Android tablet, Office 2016 for Mac has an unmistakably Office experience – but it is also designed to take advantage of Mac’s unique features. The new Office for Mac includes updated versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, with modernized user experiences such as a redesigned ribbon, a new task pane interface and new themes and styles.
We also got to see how the Internet of Things helps a Stanford lab explore the origins of the universe. Nestled in the hills west of Stanford University is the longest, straightest building in the world — the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory — a two-mile long particle accelerator built in the 1960s. Over its 50-year history, SLAC has helped scientists discover new drugs, new materials for electronics and new ways to produce clean energy. Its research has revealed intimate details of atoms, led to the discovery of matter’s fundamental building blocks, and unveiled insight into the origin of the universe and the nature of dark energy. To improve and ensure maximum operation of the critical scientific resource, SLAC’s facilities and information technology groups are cross-collaborating to explore the Internet of Things (IoT).
As shown in a recent feature story, National Geographic’s Stephen Alvarez takes smartphone photography to the next level. He and fellow photographer John Burcham made the two-week trek up Mount Everest in April 2014, carrying only the essentials and a pair of Lumia smartphones. The 50-year-old has been shooting for magazines pretty much continuously since graduating from University of the South in 1987; he’s been working with National Geographic for 20 years. They asked him to photograph the Seven Natural Wonders of the World using only Microsoft smartphones.
Updates aplenty recently graced a bevy of apps and games. In its latest update for Windows Phone 8.1 devices, the App of Week, Flipboard, your personalized newsstand, it’s now easier to build individual magazines thanks to a new topic picker that helps you choose subjects that interest you. The latest Indie Game Spotlight shines on “Transport Empire,” “Smash Cops Heat” and dozens of other titles from independent developers. Edit photos with Afterlight and you’ll have eight adjustment tools, 57 filters and nearly 70 textures to make the most of your snapshots and turn any picture into something special. With its striking silhouettes and lifelike-animated martial arts techniques, “Shadow Fight 2” has already built up a loyal following on Windows Phone. Now, you can kick, punch, jump and slash your way to victory on Windows PCs and tablets. “Candy Crush Saga” fans now have 268 more levels to play on Windows Phone 8.1, thanks to a recent update. If you’re using Windows Phone 8, you’ll need to upgrade to 8.1 to receive the update.
Thanks for checking out this edition of Weekend Reading. Hope the snow is finally melting if you’ve seen too much of it this winter. And to the rest of the country, enjoy early spring! See you next week!
Posted by Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff