This article was published on September 7, 2012

This week at Microsoft: Windows Phone, Windows 8, and the Bing smackdown

This week at Microsoft: Windows Phone, Windows 8, and the Bing smackdown
Alex Wilhelm
Story by

Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

Happy Friday everyone, I trust that yours is going swimmingly thus far. In case not, allow me to assuage your mind with ruminations on how Microsoft performed in the last week, and exactly what went down for the Redmond-based software giant.

As I implore weekly, ensure that you are following TNW’s Microsoft channel on both Twitter and Facebook. Provided that you are both locked and loaded in that regard, and know how to show yourself to the archives, let’s get into the news.

Windows Phone

Nokia went big this week, dropping phones and percentage points in the stock market. Here’s the skinny: Two new phones, the Lumia 920 and the Lumia 820. The devices, both Windows Phone 8 handsets, are the obvious sucessors to the Lumia 800 and 900 that are currently in the market.

TNW has written positively about the current Nokia Windows Phone line. The new handsets are built to manage Windows Phone 8, the coming version of the Windows Phone firmware that requires a hardware reset to properly run; all current handsets will instead be shunted to Windows Phone 7.8, a compromise build that is not as featured as the full version 8, and is essentially a dead end.

News out earlier today has the Lumia 920 coming out in Europe this November. That would give the phone under two months to capitalize on the holiday sales cycle.

Oh, and Windows Phone 8 supports the capability to take screenshots. At last.

Windows 8

As we trudge towards Windows 8, a key product for the future of both Microsoft and the Windows franchise, news continues to come out around the edges.

First up: Kinect for Windows 8 is coming out October 8th. Wanted proof that Kinect for Windows is a developer, and not consumer project at the moment? Microsoft is releasing Windows 8 support, weeks before the public can snag Windows 8 itself. Developers, certain enterprise customers, and those with functioning bittorrent clients are the current only parties who have the code.

Through an update, Microsoft is adding the classic ‘browser ballot‘ to Windows 8, in a number of countries. This is in response to litigation in the past that dinged Microsoft in the past for acting in an anticompetitive fashion. You can now pick Maxthon over Internet Explorer if you so desire.

Xbox gaming is coming to Windows 8 after a fashion, as you all know. We took a look at what you can really expect, in case your hopes were far too high. Oh, and the Xbox just topped the charts for the 20th straight month, to which we say ‘not bad.’

Finally, Microsoft CEO promised that there will be some 400 million Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 devices out in a just about a year’s time. That would create a new install base and app store large enough to make it unignorable.

Bing’s War

Operation Bing Forward is in full motion, I would. say. This week, Microsoft has tossed down the gauntlet. From our coverage:

Microsoft is making a bold move today, launching a new blind test that pits Bing against Google in efforts to show how useful its search results are compared to the old standard. Microsoft explains on its blog that this is a “non-scientific test,” but claims upfront that research shows “people prefer Bing web search results over Google.”

Them’s fighting words.

We love the audacity of the test, but found mixed results in our results. Harrison, our Design and Dev guru, went with Google five out of five times. I just took the test, and to my surprise sided with Bing 80% of the time. Do your own research.

Still prefer Google or not, Bing is making real progress.

Now, go prepare a strong cup of coffee, and curl up with a good book or a rerun of Office Space. You deserve it. Top Image Credit: Robert Scoble

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