By Joe Belfiore
Three years ago I was lucky to join the Windows Phone team at a time when we were “resetting” our approach to mobile operating system software. We made big changes to our design, our approach to partners, and our platform. The result was Windows Phone 7.
Now it’s time to start telling you about the next exciting chapter of our story: Windows Phone 8. Officially announced this morning in San Francisco, it’s the most advanced mobile OS Microsoft has ever made and will arrive on new phones later this year.
Many of Windows Phone 8’s new capabilities come from a surprising source: Windows, the most successful and powerful operating system on the planet, and one used by more than a billion people. Yes, you read that right: Windows Phone 8 is based on the same core technologies that power Windows 8. As a result, Windows Phone 8 will unleash a new wave of features for consumers, developers, and businesses.
Today I’ll give you a high-level sneak peek at the Windows Phone 8 platform and tell you just some of what it’s going to make possible. I’ll also share some exciting news about apps and updates for current Windows Phone customers. This isn’t a full disclosure of everything in Windows Phone 8—look for a more complete tour of new features later.
If you’ve seen Windows 8, Microsoft’s groundbreaking new release for PCs and tablets, you’ve probably noticed it bears more than a passing resemblance to the look of Windows Phone. Here’s how the Windows 8 Start screen looks in the latest preview release.
With Windows Phone 8, the similarity is more than skin deep. We’ve based the next release of Windows Phone on the rock-solid technology core of Windows 8. It means Windows Phone and its bigger sibling will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system. That translates into better performance, more features, and new opportunities for app developers and hardware makers to innovate faster.
This new shared core—along with all the extra work we’ve done on top of it—opens up a new world of capabilities, which you don’t have to be a techie to appreciate. Here’s a taste:
We’re putting the finishing touches on Windows Phone 8 as I write this. It has a ton of great new consumer features that I can’t wait to tell you about in the months ahead. Today, however, I’m going to show off just one: the beautiful, flexible new Start screen.
As you can see, we’re making Windows Phone 8 even more personal, with a new palette of theme colors and three sizes of Live Tiles, all of which are under your control. We know Live Tiles are one of the things current owners really love about their Windows Phones, and we wanted to make them even more flexible and unique. This short video shows the new Start screen in action.
The new Start screen is so useful and emblematic of what Windows Phone is about that we want everybody to enjoy it. So we’ll be delivering it to existing phones as a software update sometime after Window Phone 8 is released. Let me repeat: If you currently own a Windows Phone 7.5 handset, Microsoft is planning to release an update with the new Windows Phone 8 Start screen. We’re calling it “Windows Phone 7.8.”
Some of you have been wondering, “Will we also get Windows Phone 8 as an update?” The answer, unfortunately, is no.
Windows Phone 8 is a generation shift in technology, which means that it will not run on existing hardware. BUT we care deeply about our existing customers and want to keep their phones fresh, so we’re providing the new Start screen in this new update.
Today we announced that the Windows Phone Marketplace officially hit 100,000 apps and games—a milestone we reached faster than Android, and a testament to the thousands of talented developers around the world who’ve supported us since launch. Together they deliver more than 200 new titles, on average, each day.
On behalf of everybody at Windows Phone, THANK YOU! We appreciate your effort and creativity and the value you bring to Windows Phone users.
To mark the milestone, today we’re announcing a new batch of marquee titles. The official Audible app for audiobooks arrives in Marketplace today. Official apps from Chase and PayPal are in the works. Gameloft has Windows Phone versions of Asphalt 7: Heat and N.O.V.A. 3 Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance on the way.
And Nokia is helping deliver the much-requested Zynga games Words with Friends and Draw Something to Windows Phone later this year. Check out Nokia Conversations today for more details about this and other new Windows Phone-related announcements today. (And don’t miss the fun new “100,000 Apps and Counting” mugs and other goodies in the official Windows Phone Gear Store!)
Since we’re talking about apps, I want to tell developers a little bit about what they can expect in Windows Phone 8. Some of the exciting changes on the way include:
This is just a taste. Later this summer, we’ll have much more for developers on the Windows Phone 8 Software Development Kit (SDK) and the new Visual Studio 11-based development tools. So stay tuned.
In Windows Phone 8, we’re also moving into the workplace in a big way, introducing a number of features and capabilities that companies and their IT departments demand. This is just one more benefit of sharing a common core with Windows 8. Some of the new business-friendly features include:
I get a lot of tweets asking, “When will my phone get Arabic? Farsi? Turkish?” They’re also the top feature requests on the Windows Phone Suggestion Box site.
I’m happy to tell you these languages are coming! In fact, Windows Phone 8 will support a total of 50 languages, or double the current geographic coverage. We’re also expanding Marketplace, our store for apps and games, to support app downloads in over 180 countries—nearly triple its current footprint.
Another area I know many of you care deeply about is Windows Phone software updates and how they’re delivered—something we’ve gotten a lot of feedback on over the last year. Today I’m excited to tell you that we’ve been working closely with our many partners to improve the update process for Windows Phone 8, and help get you our latest software more quickly and easily.
How? First, Windows Phone 8 updates will be delivered wirelessly over-the-air, so you don’t have to bother plugging your phone into your PC to update anymore. Second, we will support devices with updates for at least 18 months from device launch.
Finally, we’re working to create a program that gives registered enthusiasts early access to updates prior to broad availability—a little gift to our biggest fans and supporters. We think these three initiatives will help keep your phone fresher than ever before.
I know that’s a lot to digest—and look forward to. And I didn’t even mention actual phones yet!
We’re really excited about the strong line-up of hardware partners who are putting their support behind Windows Phone 8. The first wave of devices for Windows Phone 8 will come from Nokia, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC, all built on next-generation chips from Qualcomm.
Starting today, Microsoft Office 365 for education is available, providing the world’s best productivity, communications and collaboration experiences to schools at no cost.
“The cloud and online learning are key trends transforming education today. Office 365 for education delivers a holistic collaboration platform that will change the game,” said Anthony Salcito, vice president of worldwide education, Microsoft. “As schools face ever-tightening budgets and the pressure to innovate, we are offering enterprise quality technology for free that will modernize teaching practices and help prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.”
At BETT 2011 we announced that Office 365 would be coming to our education customers – an upgrade for the current Live@edu service used by over 22M users worldwide. Over the last few months some of our early adopter customers, including University of Dundee, Westminster University and The Schools Network (formerly SSAT) have been deploying this upgraded service and they’re really happy with the results.
“The university selected Office 365 over Google Apps because it gives us a robust enterprise-class platform for developing a radical new approach to collaboration and communication that goes far beyond email” Tom Mortimer, Director, Information and Communication Services, University of Dundee
“The university selected Office 365 over Google Apps because it gives us a robust enterprise-class platform for developing a radical new approach to collaboration and communication that goes far beyond email”
Tom Mortimer, Director, Information and Communication Services, University of Dundee
As of right now education institutions can sign up for the Office 365 for education 30-day trial for free via the Office 365 website.
Office 365 allows schools to teach from virtually anywhere*, reach more students, teach software skills employers are looking for and provide enterprise-class tools that reduce IT costs.
Students can engage in ad-hoc instant messaging or video chats to collaborate on class projects in real time, regardless of where they are working or on what device. They can create documents with Office Web Apps that provide the same features as the desktop version of Microsoft Office, share class notes by synchronizing OneNote notebooks, and create digital portfolios.
Teachers can create curriculum, record lectures and publish them on online class sites in the cloud where students are able to view, open, produce, edit and share their homework. Office 365 provides new ways to extend classroom teaching time and distance learning, tutor students online, and whiteboard ideas.
Educational institutions and parents will get peace of mind knowing students’ content and personal data are protected and won’t be scanned for advertising purposes, thanks to a rich set of privacy, security and protection capabilities that adhere to federal laws.
School IT departments can save money and free up more critical time by counting on Microsoft to manage routine tasks such as applying server updates and software upgrades. With the influx of digital content, datacentre demands and lessened and with 25GB mailboxes, people won’t be forced to purge files.
*An appropriate device, Internet connection, supported browser and/or carrier network connectivity are required. Data charges may apply.
Education institutions currently using the Microsoft Live@edu platform will be upgraded to Office 365 beginning this summer.
Originally posted on UK Education Cloud Blog
Just a few hours ago Office 365 for education launched around the world so we thought it might be a good time to give you a quick tour of what you can expect to find. So, sit back and relax as my colleague Damon introduces you to Office 365!
Don’t forget that you can sign up for the 30-day trial absolutely free which will give you the chance to experience this first hand. Just head over to the new website at http://education.office365.com to get started.
Originally posted by Born to Learn
We came across two great videos made by Microsoft Certified Trainers, in which they both share their take on the new MCSE (Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert) and explain what the changes mean to MCITP. We (Microsoft Learning) made the announcement, but it takes Microsoft Certified Trainers to really break it down for you. Watch and listen to both as they're two very different styles but equally informative.
Thank you to Doug Bassett and Michael Murphy for the videos and messages, and hat tip to Chris Avis (we found Michael's video via Chris' blog).
You can see view the videos on the Born to Learn blog here
Taken from our Virtualisation with Microsoft® Hyper-V eBook (available to view and download below).
We recently published a post about deciding on a virtualisation scenario for your school. Now we are going to address how you choose your hardware. This means working out how many host servers you will need to buy, and to what specification. The factors governing this decision include – • Number of virtual servers • Network bandwidth required • Memory requirements of virtual servers • CPU requirements of virtual servers • Storage
All these will have an impact on your virtualisation design and purchasing so let’s look at each one in more detail.
Number of virtual servers As we saw in the virtualisation scenario, the number of virtual servers you plan on hosting can have a large effect on your hardware decisions. If you only ever plan on hosting a small number of servers then you may very well get away with just one virtualisation host, but remember that this will not give you any redundancy if your host dies, or any room for growth.If you plan on hosting a large number of virtual servers, then this will force you down certain paths about the number of hosts and the storage of the virtual hard drives.
Network bandwidth required
When you are designing your host servers then the network resources required by each virtual server will have an impact on the number of network interface cards (NIC) that you will have built into the host server. You need to consider that if you host 5 servers on a host and only have 1 NIC then all data traffic will be going down that one network card. This may have a detrimental effect on your user’s experience. Later, we’ll discuss the setting up of the management side of virtualisation, which will take up at least one NIC for management traffic across the network.
Memory requirements The amount of available memory has a massive effect on how any computer performs. This is no different in servers and in some ways it is more important. When designing the memory requirements for your host servers you will need to consider both the memory requirements for the host server and also for all of the virtual servers. Let’s look at the setup.
Let’s assume that each of these servers has 10Gb of memory and we are going to virtualise all of them except the Active Directory Server. A quick calculation shows us that for the virtual servers we will need 30Gb of memory and if we give the host the minimum of 4Gb then the host server will need 34Gb of memory.
That seems simple, and to some extent it is. But as we’ll see later, if you are planning for redundancy, then that minimum is not enough. Instead, you will need to allow enough total memory on your host servers to cope with the failure of 1 or 2 of them, and the consequent failover of the virtual servers installed on them to the remaining hosts. In Hyper-V this is called failover clustering and is the best way to ensure that your users are not affected if you suffer the failure of one or more virtualisation hosts.
Central Processing Unit (CPU) requirements Designing your CPU requirements for your host servers is done in a very similar way to the memory requirements. You need to consider how much CPU activity, and what load, each of your virtual servers will take – plus the load that will be required by the host operating system. You also need to give consideration to what will happen in the event of a host failure and the failover of other virtual servers to the remaining hosts.
Connectivity How you connect to your storage solution is also a key factor. Two of the main choices are iSCSI and Fibre Channel. Which you choose can be affected by a number of factors, but the common choice among education is iSCSI mainly because of the cost.
Once you have chosen your system of connectivity then you need to consider how much traffic will be travelling between your hosts and the storage system. You also need to consider redundancy. Again, a single point of failure could be introduced if you connect all your hosts to your SAN or NAS using a single network cable and switch.
A simple scenario is shown in the diagram below, this shows two routes for each host to access the storage system. This will remove the connectivity single point of failure.
Throughout your planning and implementation of virtualisation, you need to have an eye on the future. This means knowing whether, and how, you can readily expand the capacity of your system.
This, of course, includes your storage solution, and that’s where what’s called “Dynamic LUN expansion” comes in.
When setting up your storage system, you will purchase two distinctly different items, the physical hard drives and the ‘housing’ for them to go in. The housing is the piece of equipment that will manage your hard drives, the iSCSI connections and the partitioning of the hard drives into what are called LUN’s which then you can connect to your hosts. Here’s where, if you haven’t considered how your environment will grow, you could lock yourself into a situation where if your storage system becomes full you may need to remove all the current LUN’s before you can increase the amount of available storage space.
That’s because some of the low end storage solutions will have the basics, such as RAID array ability, dual controllers, dual iSCSI connections but will not have dynamic LUN expansion. This basically means that once you set the size of the LUN on the storage box it is fixed and if you ever want to increase the size you will need to backup all the data, delete the LUN and then rebuild it with the increased size. Some of the more expensive storage solutions, though, do have dynamic LUN expansion, which is the ability to increase the size of a LUN as you insert more physical hard drives. As so often, the major factor in this decision is obviously cost. The more features in a storage solution the higher the cost.
You can view and download our Virtualisation with Microsoft® Hyper-V eBook below.
Taken from our Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education eBook by Ollie Bray (available to view and download below)
I’ve seen lots of badly dubbed films but I have never seen a badly dubbed computer game. Yet children play the same games in different languages all over the world.
In 2010 I took a group of young people from my school to Alaska and, amongst other things, we spent over two weeks canoeing above the Arctic Circle. We finished our canoe trip at the small Inuit village of Noatak.
The people who lived at Noatak were the first people we had seen in weeks and naturally our young people talked and socialised with their young people. What did they talk about… computer games! The games talk established a common interest and the feeling of security followed by all sorts of wonderful conversations about culture, lifestyle and the environment. Xbox LIVE® ID’s were exchanged and relationships around this internet of games continue to be developed online between young people who live thousands of miles apart on different continents.
Games bring people together and they always have. That is why the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup are so important. Used in the right way, computer games can achieve a similar objective and I believe that global online games to the current generation of young people will be as important as large sporting events are to mine. Most importantly, online gaming encourages conversation between young people across cultures and I strongly believe conversation in the long term can reduce conflict. How can games be used in schools? There are a number of ways that games can be used in schools including supporting existing educational outcomes, as a stimulus for thematic learning and also to get young people creating content rather than just consuming it through computer games design.
Originally posted on Windows Blog
If you’re a student, it’s the same routine every day. You gather everything you need—your notebook for class, binder full of handouts, readings or homework assignments, textbooks, laptop, smartphone and maybe even your tablet. And of course your power adapters. Then you stuff it all into your backpack—everything you think you might need throughout the day—because you may not be back home until it’s time for bed.
Surely, there must be a better way to have everything you might need without hauling it around with you everywhere you go.
Well, there is. With SkyDrive, you get a “cloud backpack” where you can store, create and access all of your documents, notes, photos or files from anywhere. Our new SkyDrive at School page shows how anyone can get started with a cloud backpack, but we wanted to share a few extra tips to help you go “all in.”
OneNote 2010 is a powerful note-taking application that’s great for school. With OneNote, you can organize your notes by your classes, instantly search through them, draw graphs or diagrams, and even record your lectures. If you’re not using OneNote yet, check out these tips on the OneNote Blog to get started.
To make OneNote even more useful for you, connect it to SkyDrive and try these suggestions:
By saving your notebook on SkyDrive, you can access it from any computer (even a Mac!) using the OneNote Web App. You can also study on-the-go since OneNote is also available on pretty much every mobile device.
To save your OneNote notebook to SkyDrive, just click File and then Share to save it on the web.
Whether for class or a research project, you can send printouts, screenshots or web clippings right to OneNote to stay organized.
Find a helpful website for your research paper? Just highlight what you want from Internet Explorer and right click Send to OneNote 2010 to insert it into your notebook. You can send a whole webpage, a paragraph or image. OneNote will even show where you copied the content from so you can easily cite and reference it later.
Have a PDF or some other file from your professor? You can Print directly to your OneNote notebook and save it next to your notes from the same lecture.
To take a snapshot of anything on your screen, press Windows + S on your keyboard. You can also drop and drag an entire file into OneNote from your desktop.
By default, OneNote always asks where you want new notes to go. You can set a default preference by clicking File, Options, and then Send to OneNote. If you select a notebook that’s synced to SkyDrive, you can rest assured that anything you send to OneNote will be available anywhere, automatically.
With all of your notes in the cloud, you can easily share them with your friends and classmates. From SkyDrive.com, just right click your notebook and select Share.
If you want, you can even give them access to your notebook so that they can add their own notes. Now everyone can work together in the same notebook, and studying for finals just got a little easier.
Odds are, you’re either working on an important project right now or will be shortly. Well, SkyDrive can help keep you more organized and make sure that you’re never without the files that you need.
When you install SkyDrive for Windows or Mac, you get a SkyDrive folder on your computer. Everything you save or copy there is automatically synced to your SkyDrive. So move your spreadsheets, downloaded articles, and everything else you’ve gathered. No matter what happens to your computer, you can easily get to your stuff from any web browser.
SkyDrive does more than store your files. It also works with free Office Web Apps so you can view, edit and print from any web browser.
If you’re working on a Word document on your laptop at the library and your battery dies, you can easily pick up right where you left off just by logging into SkyDrive.com at the computer lab. If you get inspired on the bus ride back home, you can update your document using the Office Hub on your Windows Phone. You can rest assured that your formatting remains intact.
Any changes you make will be waiting to sync when you plug in your computer back at your dorm room.
What’s more, SkyDrive also keeps track of the various versions of your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. So don’t worry about renaming your files V1, V2… V14a. Just work in the documents saved in your SkyDrive folder and SkyDrive will take care of the rest.
You’ve been there before. You’re at the computer lab ready to print out your paper and you forgot your USB drive. Or you’re away from your computer and you realize you didn’t email your TA your homework assignment. Or maybe you’ve just met someone at a company you’d like to work for and you want to send them your résumé, but you won’t be home for hours.
These aren’t a problem anymore. Even if you forget to put something in your SkyDrive folder—or never thought you’d need it there—you can still access it from any computer. SkyDrive for Windows lets you fetch any file on your personal computer (as long as it’s online) from SkyDrive.com.
Once you find that paper to print, you can click Copy to SkyDrive and use Word Web App to view, print and share.
From handouts to class readings, old notes or recent assignments, you have so much paper to carry around and keep organized. Why not scan and upload everything to SkyDrive?
Use a smartphone app like Handyscan for Windows Phone (shown below) or Docscan for iPhone to create PDF versions of all of your handouts, homework, or even lecture notes from your friends. You can save the files directly to SkyDrive and they’ll be synced across your devices.
If you want to do more – like add comments or keep scans alongside class notes, you can import PDFs and other files into OneNote.
USB drives are easily left behind. Emailing yourself documents makes it easy to lose track of the latest version or crowds your inbox.
With SkyDrive, you can access everything, all around campus, from any web browser. You can also use the SkyDrive app for Windows Phone, iPhone and iPad, or Android apps—no matter where you are.
While we hope these tips are helpful, we know it will take some time before everyone upgrades to a “cloud backpack”. Here are a few ways you can help:
If you are a teacher, share class materials or class notes directly using SkyDrive. You can also provide feedback on assignments and papers through shared documents.
If you are a developer, use our APIs to integrate SkyDrive into applications that students use and love.
And if you are a student, what tips did we miss? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter how you’re using a cloud backpack today. We can help spread the word!
Kinect Sports is highly intuitive. This means the actions in the game resemble many that occur in real life. The game also provides a useful tutorial before you start playing each sport which re-caps what you have to do to in order to succeed.
Imagine that these tutorials were not there and you had to explain to another person how to succeed in one of the games.
Activity In this activity, we are going to challenge learners to write a piece of instructional writing that explains to another person (who has never played Kinect Sports before), how to play one of the games. This activity is a lot more challenging than it sounds and leaners will need to spend some time playing Kinect Sports and then breaking the components and actions down within the game.
The hardest sports to describe are Football and Beach Volleyball. So it might be worth picking some of other sports in the game to describe as a first attempt. You can also make the challenge for learners harder or easier by stating if the person they are describing the game to has played the real version of the sport before. Learners need to be very familiar with at least one of the games within Kinect Sports. This will include playing the game and watching other people play the game.
Kinect Sports also provides a really good opportunity for learners to carry out some virtual sports journalism.
To find out more about using Xbox 360 and Kinect Sports in the classroom you can view and download our eBook below.
Originally posted on Windows Phone Blog
There’s a new poll out hinting that many people flocking to Windows Phone and handsets like the new Nokia Lumia 900 are former Apple and Android owners.
If you are a proud new Lumia owner—or just new to Windows Phone period—then you’ll probably want to check out the fun and handy story Nokia ran on its official blog today: 10 things you never knew your Lumia could do. It covers everything from saving battery power to finding a good nearby pub (always high on my list of priorities).
And if you did recently just pick up your first Windows Phone, I also highly recommend checking out our Tips +Tricks site—plus this giant list of tips. Guaranteed you’ll find something that makes you go wow.