Weekend Recap: WinHEC returns, Siri vs Cortana, Surface Mini, new Microsoft Stores, and more

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Weekend Recap: WinHEC returns, Siri vs Cortana, Surface Mini, new Microsoft Stores, and more

This week has been quite interesting in the world of Microsoft. We’ve covered a lot over the past week and chances are you most likely missed an important piece of news. Let’s take a look back at the past seven days in a feature we call “Weekend Recap.”

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that it would be rebranding all its Bing apps and services into MSN. And now it seems the transition will take place as early as next week. Speaking of apps, the official Flipboard app made its appearance in the Windows Phone Store — only to get pulled immediately after. Turns out, the app was places in the Store as a placeholder and is not the final version.

Microsoft revealed earlier this week that they are bringing back the WinHEC conference. WinHEC stands for Windows Hardware Engineering Community. The conference is for OEMs, ODMs, IHVs, and IDHs who are currently or interested in working with Windows technology. WinHEC will be hosted in Shenzhen China, which was the location of the first WinHEC in 1992.

Asphalt Overdrive was made available this week for both Windows Phone and Windows 8.1. Asphalt Overdrive takes you back to the 80s, where you have to outrun the cops, and complete 7 challenging mission types, where you must escape the cops, avoid obstacles on your way, and perform deadly stunts as you move on with the game. There are 30 high-performance vehicles which you can unlock as you make progress in the game. 

Microsoft is set to open up new Microsoft Store locations in Syracuse, New York on November 13th; Metairie, Louisiana on November 14th; and Chandler, Arizona on November 14th. We learned this week that four new Microsoft Stores will open in California, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Canada, towards the end of the November month.

Remember that smaller Surface that Microsoft was planning to launch alongside the Surface Pro 3 earlier this year? Microsoft pulled the device even before it launched, meaning no one outside the company was able to see or get one. Well, until now. One lucky reporter was able to go hands-on with the device.

Microsoft’s latest and greatest Surface Pro 3 tablet gained approval by the FAA and the EASA to be used in commercial airlines during all phases of flight. The Windows 8.1-powered hybrid will also allow for real-time information on weather, wind and turbulence data in-flight. Something obviously impossible with a paper-based solution.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who owns the LA Clippers, will get rid of Apple’s iPads from his team in favor of Microsoft’s tablets. It was also discovered this past week that Apple uses Windows XP in its iPhone 6 production factory.

Microsoft rolled out two new Siri vs Cortana advertisements this past week, highlighting Cortana’s ability to keep you reminded. You can take a look at those two ads below. Microsoft also launched a new section on the Windows Phone website, showcasing some of Cortana’s newest features and improvements. 

Microsoft issued the first post-RTM update for Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 (8.1.1) earlier this week. This update is rolling out for users who are registered in the Preview for Developers. This new update is said to fix issues with some users being unable to download Windows Phone 8.1 update, and includes a number of other bug-fixes and enhancements for those already running Update 1. For those keeping track, the new build reads 8.10.14176.

Microsoft unveiled the Wireless Display Adapter this past week, which lets you share everything from your Windows 8.1 or Android device onto a big screen. Simply plug the USB end and HDMI end of the Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter into an HDTV, monitor, or projector. Then select the right input on your TV, pair it with your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and you’ll be ready to go. If you missed it, here is how to get your favorite multimedia content to your Xbox One.

Microsoft also released significant updates to Visual Studio, Team Explorer Everywhere, and Visual Studio Tools for Unity. These new improvements are based on developer feedback.

Sunset Overdrive, the upcoming open world, third-person shooter game will hit Xbox One on October 28th as an exclusive title for the platform. Microsoft and Insomniac Games have been filming a live action trailer to promote the game and it gives you an idea of how messy things can get behind the scenes. Speaking of interesting videos, check out the video below showcasing how the Lumia 930 lets two cats keep in touch with each other.

Stay tuned for next week’s Weekend Recap!