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Windows Phone 8 Update 3

Categories: Windows Phone
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I had an interesting piece of news waiting in my RSS reader today about the much rumored and speculated GDR 3 update for Windows Phone 8. According to many sources, this is the last of the GDR update/s before Windows Phone 8.1 in spring 2014. What was interesting to me that Microsoft released the update this morning without much hoopla that usually surrounds these updates. The update is not much of a radical change in the OS but more of an incremental update that adds some new features to the OS. This update also points to rumors of the spec bump to the OS as well as confirm some of the hardware that might be released by Nokia on Oct 22nd.

It seems that this week is the week of OS releases/updates with Windows 8.1, Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 all scheduled to launch on October 18th. And not to forget the all-important Surface 2 launch on Oct 22nd.

Here are the new features being added to Windows Phone 8. Check out my next posts on how you can get your hands on this update yourself.

A bigger Start screen for more Live Tiles. A new, customizable Driving Mode. Better accessibility options. These are just some of the new features and innovations that we’re getting ready to deliver to you in Windows Phone 8 Update 3, which will roll out to existing phones over the next several months. As manager of the engineering team responsible for delivering updates to your Windows Phone, today I wanted to tell you a bit more about what’s included in our third official update of the year—plus describe a new preview program we’re launching to help developers keep their apps running smoothly on our latest software.

The story behind No. 3. When we sat down to plan our latest official update to Windows Phone 8, we had three main engineering goals in mind:

  1. Enable incredible new Windows Phone devices.

  2. Enhance the platform with new capabilities for current users and partners.
  3. Improve overall quality.
Support for bigger, higher-resolution screens

So the new update paves the way for future Windows Phone devices with 5- and 6-inch touch screens. The larger, 1080p HD displays on these devices will make Windows Phone even more personal—for example by sporting jumbo-sized Start screens with room for six Live Tiles across instead of four.

A Start screen with room for as many as six Live Tiles side by side.  Windows Phone 8 Update 3 paves the way for larger Start screens like this on future Windows Phone devices with 5- and 6-inch touch screens.

More powerful hardware

In addition to larger screens, Update 3 will also bring support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor. The added horsepower that this chip delivers should make our already-fluid operating system perform even better.

Driving Mode

A new feature called Driving Mode helps you get from point A to point B with fewer distractions. Working with a connected Bluetooth device, Driving Mode is designed to limit notifications on the lock screen—including texts, calls, and quick status alerts—until you’re safely parked.

A new feature of Windows Phone 8 Update 3 called Driving Mode helps you get from point A to point B with fewer distractions.

You can even configure Driving Mode to send automatic replies to people who call or text when you’re behind the wheel, to let them know you’ll get back to them.

New accessibility features

Another highlight of the new update is Mobile Accessibility for Windows Phone 8, which isn’t a single feature but a suite of apps designed to make Windows Phone easier to see, hear, and use. The apps, which include a screen reader, make it easier for blind and visually impaired users to manage calls and contacts, send texts and emails, browse the web, make Skype and Lync calls, and hear notifications like alarms, calendar events, and low-battery warnings.

Improved Internet Sharing

Many of you are familiar with the Internet Sharing feature, which turns Windows Phone 8 into a mobile hotspot by sharing your cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.

In Update 3, we’ve made it easier to use your phone as a data-savvy hotspot for Windows 8.1 devices. Just pair your phone and Windows 8.1 PC or tablet over Bluetooth, tap your network name, and you’ll be connected and ready to go. No need to enter a password or dig out your phone and turn on Internet Sharing—it’s done for you.

But, wait, there’s more

That’s not all we’ve packed into Windows Phone 8 Update 3. Besides hundreds of under-the-hood performance tweaks and enhancements, we’ve also added a bunch of small but handy new features, including several that you’ve been asking for. They include:

  • More useful ringtones: With Update 3, you can use custom ringtones for more things—including instant messages, emails, voicemails, and reminders. You can also assign custom ringtones to contacts for text messages, so you’ll know who’s texting you without even looking.

  • No more twist and shout: Does your screen keep spinning when you’re trying to read emails in bed? Use the new rotation lock option to keep it fixed in place.
  • Better storage management: New storage settings make it easier to free up space on your phone and manage temporary files. A new category view shows what’s taking up space at a glance.
  • Easily close apps: Now you can use the App switcher to quickly close apps when you’re finished with them.
  • Wi-Fi access out of the box: You can now connect to Wi-Fi during phone set up, so you can start conserving cellular data right out of the box.
  • Better Bluetooth: The team made a bunch of improvements to improve connection quality for Bluetooth accessories.

Windows Phone 8 Update 3 adds the ability to assign custom ringtones to contacts for text messages, so you'll know who's texting you without even looking.          Does your screen keep spinning when you’re trying to read emails in bed? Use the new rotation lock option to keep it fixed in place.

Announcing the Developer Preview Program

Finally, today I’m also happy to announce the Windows Phone Preview for Developers. The program, which officially launches later today, gives app builders early access to our operating system updates so they can verify that their apps work as expected on the new code.

To participate and download Windows Phone 8 Update 3, you need to meet one of three conditions: your phone is “developer-unlocked,” you’re a registered Windows Phone Store developer, or you’re a registered Windows Phone App Studio developer.

You’ll find more details about the new program in a post today on our official Developer Blog. Try it out and let us know what you think, and thanks for your continued interest in Windows Phone!

Source: http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2013/10/14/announcing-our-third-windows-phone-8-update-plus-a-new-developer-preview-program.aspx


All about the Surface 2

Categories: Hardware, Surface
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Microsoft unveils Surface 2, Surface Pro 2 and new accessories

Pre-order will begin at 8 a.m. EDT Sept. 24.

Surface 2 will launch 10/22

Microsoft on Monday announced that the Microsoft Surface family of tablets is growing. Two new Surface models — Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 — along with an expanded portfolio of new Surface accessories, will be available at Microsoft retail stores, http://www.MicrosoftStore.com and select third-party retailers in 22 initial markets, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States on Oct. 22 and China in early November. Additional markets will be announced in the coming months.

Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 each benefit from significant updates, including improvements to processing power and battery life, to display and camera resolution, and to the Kickstand, now with dual angles, so it’s more comfortable for you to use your Surface on your lap or at your desk. Enhancements in Windows RT 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Pro make Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 even more powerful and customizable.

Pre-order Surface

Customers can pre-order Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 starting at 8 a.m. EDT on Sept. 24, 2013, at http://www.MicrosoftStore.com, Microsoft Stores, and Best Buy in the U.S. and Canada, as well as select retailers in most Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 launch markets.

Value-added services

To help people get the most out of Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, customers purchasing either device will receive free Skype calling to landlines in more than 60 countries for one year, unlimited Skype WiFi on their Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 at more than 2 million hot spots worldwide for one year, and 200 GB of free SkyDrive storage for two years.

Surface 2

Surface 2 is the most productive tablet for personal use. It offers all the entertainment and gaming capabilities you expect from a tablet, along with the ability to get work done. Surface 2 is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 4 processor, making apps run faster and smoother and increasing battery life to up to 10 hours for video playback. The 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD display now renders 1080p video for enjoying shows and movies, and its full-size USB port has been upgraded to USB 3.0 for up to four times faster file transfers. Camera resolution has also increased, with a 3.5-megapixel front camera and 5-megapixel rear camera, both capable of capturing 1080p video and featuring improved low-light performance, making face-to-face conversations with your favorite people crisp and clear. Even with these and other upgrades, Surface 2 is slightly thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

Surface 2 will ship with Windows RT 8.1, bringing improvements in key areas such as personalization, search, multitasking, built-in apps, the Windows Store experience and cloud connectivity. The new Xbox Music allows you to stream millions of songs for free, and an updated Video app and great games from the Windows Store such as “Halo: Spartan Assault” will ensure that you never run out of ways to play. When it’s time to get serious, Surface 2 is pre-loaded with Microsoft Office 2013 RT — including Outlook RT; simply click in a Touch or Type Cover and get to work.

Surface 2 is available in 32GB and 64GB configurations;[1] it will start at $449.

Surface Pro 2

Surface Pro 2 is the successor to Surface Pro and, like its predecessor, is a true laptop replacement, capable of running virtually all your Windows software including the full Microsoft Office suite,[2] as well as apps from the Windows Store. Surface Pro 2 offers the portability and simplicity of a tablet when you want it and the power and flexibility of a laptop when you need it. It is powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 processor which, combined with other improvements, delivers increased performance and up to 60 percent longer battery life than Surface Pro.

Starting at $899, Surface Pro 2 will be offered in 64GB and 128GB configurations with 4 GB of RAM and 256GB and 512GB configurations with 8 GB of RAM.[1]

Full specs are available at http://www.Surface.com/pre-order.

New Accessories

Today’s announcement also includes seven new accessories that will make Surface even more flexible, more portable and more productive:

•Touch Cover 2. Thinner and lighter than the original Touch Cover, measuring only 2.75 mm thin, Touch Cover 2 features backlit keys for even better readability. Touch Cover 2 is more rigid, registers keystrokes with greater accuracy and features updated sensors that support a variety of gestures across the entire keyboard. Touch Cover 2 has an estimated retail price of $119.99. It will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order.

•Type Cover 2. Type Cover 2 features the same super-thin, lightweight design of the original Type Cover, but it’s now backlit and will be available in Cyan, Magenta, Purple and Black in the coming months. It’s also more rigid, providing a better lap-typing experience, and is designed to be noticeably quieter when striking keys. Type Cover 2 will have an estimated retail price of $129.99. It will be available for pre-order on Sept. 24 in all markets where Surface devices are available for pre-order.[3]

•Power Cover. Power Cover delivers the same great typing experience you get with Type Cover while extending the battery life of your Surface 2, Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 by up to 50 percent to help you make it through that late-night meeting or the entire flight. Power Cover will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.

•Docking Station for Surface Pro. The Docking Station for Surface Pro lets you quickly connect Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 to desktop PC peripherals in a single step, taking you from laptop to desktop in an instant. While Surface Pro or Surface Pro 2 is docked, it can connect with an external monitor, Ethernet, speakers and power supply. PC peripherals connect via its one USB 3.0 port and three USB 2.0 ports. The Docking Station for Surface Pro will have an estimated retail price of $199.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.

•Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers. The Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers connects magnetically to any Touch or Type Cover, letting you type from anywhere in the room using Bluetooth technology, so it is even easier to connect Surface to a TV or monitor[4] and type from another location, such as the couch. Wireless Adapter for Typing Covers will have an estimated retail price of $59.99. It will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada beginning Sept. 24.

•Car Charger with USB. Car Charger plugs into most cars’ power or lighter ports and charges Surface without the need for an additional adapter. It also features a USB port to allow simultaneous charging of a phone or other device. Car Charger will have an estimated retail price of $49.99 and has a projected release date of early 2014.

•Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition. This special-edition Arc Touch Mouse has been updated to match the look of Surface. Like other Arc Touch mice, it is designed for comfort and flattens for portability. It connects via Bluetooth 3.0, freeing Surface’s USB port for use by other devices. Arc Touch Mouse Surface Edition will have an estimated retail price of $69.99 and will be available for pre-order in the U.S. and Canada on Sept. 24. Distribution in additional markets is projected to begin in the coming months.

More information on Surface is available at http://www.Surface.com.


Microsoft Surface RT pricing seems to be revealed. Starts at $499

Categories: Hardware, Surface
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The Verge and Neowin.net are reporting that Microsoft has now unveiled the pricing for both of its ARM-based Surface RT tablets at its Microsoft online stores. The 10.6-inch Surface, powered by Windows RT, will go on sale on October 26th and will be priced starting at $499 for the 32GB version without Touch Cover and $599 for the 64GB model. A 32GB version will be offered for $599 with a Touch Cover included. The 9.3mm thin tablet weighs just 1.5lbs and includes a built-in kickstand and vapor-deposited (PVD) magnesium case.

Microsoft listed its Surface pricing at its online Microsoft Store this morning, indicating that pre-orders will be available shortly. The company has also listed the prices for its Touch Cover, at $119.99 each, and Type Cover for $129.99. The Touch Cover appears to be available in white, red, black, blue, and purple colors – while the Type Cover is listed as a single item in black.

While the link above does not seem to be working currently, we seem to have gotten screenshots of what to expect.

SurfacePreorder

Sources:
http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/16/3271243/microsoft-surface-tablet-pricing-availability
http://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-surface-price-revealed-starts-at-499


Microsoft Surface hits the big screen today

Categories: Hardware, Surface
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Xbox Music: Free streaming music on Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs and tablets

Categories: Hardware, XBox
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Xbox has officially announced Xbox Music tonight which begins rolling out to Xbox consoles on October 16th. Starting on October 26th, Xbox Music will deliver free streaming music on Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs and tablets in 15 markets worldwide!

xboxmusic

Xbox Music has a music catalog on par with iTunes and will give you access to millions of songs and albums that you can subscribe to or purchase through the Xbox Music Store. Buy an Xbox Music Pass for just $9.99 (U.S.) per month and you can get access to ad-free, unlimited playback of any song in our catalog. Your music experience will be effortlessly integrated across Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs and tablets, Windows Phone 8 and your TV with the Xbox 360. Xbox Music is cloud-powered: if you have an Xbox Music Pass you can create the perfect playlist on your Windows 8 or Windows RT PC or tablet and then see it automatically appear on your TV with your Xbox 360 or on your phone with Windows Phone 8.

For more information on Xbox Music, visit Xbox.com/music or check out this press release with all the details


New Products from Microsoft

Categories: Exchange, Hardware, Lync, Microsoft, SharePoint, Windows, Windows Server
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2012 seems to be quite the year for Microsoft. We will see these products releasing through February 2013.

 

image  Surface

image  image

image image

Did I miss anything? I will update as I find more.