Weekend Recap: Windows 10 for Phones Preview, Cortana on iOS/Android, Xbox One, and much more

Lumia 640

Welcome to the weekend recap! This has been yet another exciting week for Microsoft and we have been sure to collect all the best moments together for your reading pleasure. Check out the recaps below and then be sure to visit the links for the full details and community discussions.

Windows Phone

If you love Audible then you may way to check out the latest Audible for Windows Phone Beta application. The early release features a collection of bug fixes and stability improvements, along with new personal recommendations, grouping options, and audio samples.

Microsoft Store France and Germany have just listed the expected release date for the upcoming dual-SIM Lumia 640 variant – it is expected to launch April 16th, 2015.

Prospective Lumia 435 purchasers can now be assured that interchangeable shells in a variety of wonderful colors will be available including green, black, white, and orange.

One of our readers has sent us a collection of photographs allegedly taken with the upcoming Lumia 640. In addition, the tipster has included a number of benchmarks provided by AnTuTu Benchmark software.

Screenshots from the upcoming Windows 10 for Phones Preview build 10038 have leaked from China. The latest screenshots showcase a few new ideas including the ability for users to pin certain settings to the Start Screen, new keyboard options, and a revamped dialer interface.

Nokia Asha users in India can get excited if they have been looking to upgrade to a Windows Phone. Microsoft has just announced that customers can trade in their Asha 500, 501, 502, and 503 devices for a discount of up to Rs 1,500 towards a Lumia 435. If you want to see an unboxing and hands-on video of the device, then check out our wonderful Zac Bowden who has crafted yet another wonderful YouTube piece.

Lumia 435

Windows Phone support for Banks doesn’t seem to be looking good lately. This week, Bank of America officially shut down their app and has disabled browsing from Internet Explorer Mobile. Chase Bank is also looking to do the same, but have commented that the app will be available for use “until further notice”.

Microsoft’s Lumia 640 XL is now available for pre-ordering in Germany. You can find the handset on Amazon Germany for only €219. Those pre-ordering should note that an availability date isn’t yet listed, but it should hit retail by the end of this month.

Windows Phone users who love Cortana might become a bit jealous; as news is circulating that the beloved virtual assistant will also make her way to Apple and Android devices later this year.

Microsoft Band

If you are a fan of Microsoft Band then you know how hard it is to track down in stores. According to our friends over at Windows Central, the beloved Microsoft wearable tech will be headed to 765 Best Buy stores across the United States.

Xbox One / Xbox 360

Xbox and Halo have been a Microsoft gaming staple for a long time now, and if you are a fan then we have some great news. Microsoft will be launching the new Xbox One Halo: Master Chief Collection Bundle, which includes four free Halo games for only $349.

 Quantum Break

A new rumor notes that the upcoming Xbox One game, Quantum Break, is looking at an early 2016 release. Delays may not be fun, but developers want to make sure the game is completely ready upon release.

The latest Xbox One update is now available for download. A large number of features are onboard including the ability to take screenshots, a new Upload app, suggested friends list, party chat enhancements, tile transparency, TV features for Australia, and much more.

Ori and the Blind Forest have gone on to become on the most anticipated games of the year. Its gorgeous graphics and intimate storyline moved people at the expo, and is set to move people again, as the game is finally available to purchase and download.

Rollercoaster lovers can download ScreamRide for both Xbox One and Xbox 360. The action filled game that allows you to build your own rollercoaster throughout 50 playable levels is available for $39.99.

ScreamRide

This week’s Deals with Gold for Xbox One include Dragon Age Inquisition, Tomb Raider Definite Edition, Ryse: Legendary Edition, and others. Xbox 360 deals include Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed Revelations, Murdered: Soul Suspect, Hitman HD, and Zombie Driver HD.

Titanfall fans should be excited, as Respawn Entertainment has decided to celebrate the game’s one-year anniversary in a big way. The Titanfall Season Pass is now available as a free download on the Xbox Store. It is also worth noting that Titanfall 2 is in development and that the studio assured it will not be a Microsoft exclusive.

If first person shooters aren’t your thing then you may want to check out Goat Simulator, which will be coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360 this April.

Xbox One

While Xbox One failed to top the charts for the month of February 2015, Microsoft announced it was still a fruitful month for the Xbox One. The console had record sales in the month February 2015 in the US, reporting a phenomenal increase of 84 percent compared to January.

Microsoft Corporate

The Redmond based company has updated their website with a more minimalist layout that features quick access to a number of site highlights. In addition, Microsoft will be displaying a large feature story on the homepage– this week “girls who love science”.

Microsoft Website

This year is the fifth year that Microsoft has been awarded as one of the World’s Most Ethical companies. The full list includes 132 companies in 50 industries representing 21 countries.

In a new initiative with edX, Microsoft is offering a number of development courses in an effort to bring high-quality education to everyone, everywhere. EdX is a leader in an online learning movement called Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

As if there has ever been any doubt, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella will be delivering the opening keynote at Microsoft’s Convergence 2015 event. This year Convergence will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on March 16th.

Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella

Announced via an internal memo from Satya Nadella, MSN will shift to Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, which is helmed by Executive Vice President Terry Myserson.

Hardware

Intel announced that their next generation processor architecture, Broadwell, will be release mid-2015. The new CPUs will be a 14 nm variation of the Haswell chips that were introduced in June 2013. Broadwell will include Intel’s latest Iris Pro integrated graphics.

Intel Chipset

OEMs

Lenovo is offering free 6-month McAfee subscriptions to consumers who may have purchased systems preloaded with the adware, Superfish. Starting March 16, 2015, the company will be teaming up with Intel Security to distribute the software.

Surface

If you love Microsoft Surface and have been thinking about picking up the previous generation on the cheap – we have some unfortunate news. The Microsoft Store is no longer offering the Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2 for purchase; just an additional confirmation that Windows RT is truly dead.

Microsoft Surface

If you already own a Microsoft Surface, then you are going to want to download the latest updates from ‘Patch Tuesday’, which include a number of security fixes for Internet Explorer, Adobe Font Driver, VBSCript, and more.

In an exciting bit of news from the International Data Corporation, Windows tablets market share is expected to grow by 7 percent in 2015. Sales are expected to hit 234.5 million before the year is out.

Development

Visual Studio developers will be excited to know that the latest update for Visual Studio 2013 CTP is now available for download. Update 5 focuses primarily on bug fixes and should allow you to focus on debugging your own code – not Microsoft’s.

Visual Studio 2013 CTP

Office

If you are working in an office there is a good chance that you are using Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite. The latest statistics from Business Insider showcase Office 365 taking a gigantic leap in marketshare over Google Apps and Box. The only competitor above Microsoft at this time is Salesforce.com.

If you organization has been using Microsoft Lync for communication then get ready for slight change. Microsoft has announced that they will be rebranding Lync to “Skype for Business” starting March 18th, 2015.

Skype For Business

If you use OneNote Clipper in your day-to-day endeavors, you should take note that a new version is available that features a completely redesigned UI, location picker, and much more.

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