Weekend Reading: July 1st Edition–Angry Birds & AmazonFresh Come to Windows Phone, plus Office 365, Hotmail and Surface 2.0

Just in case you missed it, Microsoft announced the availability of Office 365 earlier this week. The company also made big news on several other fronts, including Windows Phone, Hotmail and others.

Angry Birds and AmazonFresh now on Windows Phone. It’s been a big week for Windows Phone. Earlier this week, it was announced that the ultra-popular game Angry Birds has arrived on the Windows Phone mobile platform. As if that wasn’t big enough news, Microsoft also announced AmazonFresh, a new app exclusive to Windows Phone from the online retailing giant that enables customers to place grocery orders from their phones.

Ringing in “Mango.” “Custom ringtones are coming” to Windows Phone, according to this Tuesday post on the Windows Phone Blog by Alice Luu, a program manager on the Windows Phone Engineering Team. Starting this fall, she expects to see a burst of ringtone-related apps in Marketplace. Without getting too technical, that’s because of new under-the-hood changes Microsoft has made that make it possible for developers to build ringtone apps and also add ringtone-related features to existing ones. Like what, you ask? Read the rest of the post to find out!

How we made Hotmail 10 times faster. Microsoft announced last week a new version of SkyDrive, in which SkyDrive was redesigned from the ground up to have great performance on modern browsers. Like the SkyDrive team, we’ve also been hard at work on ways to speed up Hotmail. We measured how fast our Hotmail pages loaded all over the world and how we compared to our competitors in a standardized environment, and then we dug deep into the numbers. In some ways, we were pretty good, but a number of very common actions were just too slow. Read this Thursday post on the Inside Windows Live Blog to find out more.

Microsoft honored at the White House for online safety video. On Monday, Microsoft received an award from the White House and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the company’s work in helping to keep individuals and families safer when they go online. Check out this Monday post on the Microsoft on the Issues Blog for the whole story.

The magic inside Surface 2. In this Thursday post, Next at Microsoft Blog Editor Steve Clayton has a short piece (and video) on Steve Bathiche (Director of Research at Microsoft’s Applied Sciences group) and Surface 2.0 with Pixelsense. As Clayton points out, the nature of Pixelsense is hard to explain, but Bathiche and his team do a great job in the four-plus minute video featured on the Next at Microsoft Blog, so check it out.

Thanks for taking in another edition of Weekend Reading, and have a great Fourth of July holiday! Stop by The Official Microsoft Blog again next Wednesday for another round up of Microsoft news in the Midweek Download.

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog

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