Improved Windows Phone Traffic Coverage; App Publishing Times Decline, New Phone Unlock Option; Microsoft Holding a Mysterious Media Event on June 18

Microsoft has sent out invitation to a June 18 event with a tag line stating, "This will be a major Microsoft announcement - you will not want to miss it.""You are invited to an exclusive Microsoft media event in Los Angeles, California on Monday, June 18th. Doors open at 3:30 PM," reads the invitation from […]

Microsoft has sent out invitation to a June 18 event with a tag line stating, "This will be a major Microsoft announcement - you will not want to miss it."

"You are invited to an exclusive Microsoft media event in Los Angeles, California on Monday, June 18th. Doors open at 3:30 PM," reads the invitation from Microsoft's Waggener Edstrom PR agency.

Note, "the invitations was sent from Waggner -- Microsoft's press agency for Windows and Windows Phone -- rather than Edelman, their agency for Xbox announcements."

There is very little information, however the speculation suggests a couple of things: first, the announcement could actually be Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 reaching RTM.

Or, it could be Office for iPad, Windows 8 release date, strategic partnership with RIM, or even a free pony for all Windows Phone users.

And, AllthingsD claims, it is Microsoft's Windows RT tablets announcement. To this, the TheWrap.com also claims to have heard via unnamed sources that Microsoft will reveal plans for a "Microsoft-manufactured tablet" at the event, possibly running on Windows RT.

But, according to some, the announcement seemingly means that it will be related to Windows Phone, and the only thing that hasn't been shown off (other than Apollo) there is Xbox Music/Video.

Another interesting (and plausible-sounding guess) comes from Brier Dudley at The Seattle Times -- claims Microsoft is either buying outright or partnering with Hulu.

Or, it could be Microsoft's announcing Yammer acquisition.

No matter, what Microsoft announces on June 18th, the Xbox 360 continued maintaining its position as the best-selling console in the U.S. for the past 17 months -- with Xbox 360 selling 160,000 units in May -- representing a 45 percent share of current-generation console sales in the U.S.

This marks the 15th consecutive month that Xbox 360 has held more than a 40 percent share of current-generation console sales in the U.S.

Also, "total retail spend on the Xbox 360 platform (hardware, software and accessories) reached $209 million, the most for any console in the U.S. and more than the spend on the other two current-generation consoles combined," Microsoft said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has published a number of lenghty posts including Windows Phone, Windows 8 and IE10.

First, on its Windows Phone blog, Microsoft announced of Windows Phone app publishing times decline.

"Over the last several weeks some of you have reported slowdowns or delays in the app approval and publishing process. You've also reported App Hub was taking longer to perform basic functions, like generating reports.

In the blog entry, Todd Brix notes, that last week, they've trim the size of the Marketplace feed, by removing app information that was no longer used and frankly just slowing things down. With that, "the average publishing time--the period between hitting the publish button and seeing your certified app become visible in Marketplace--has improved by 20 to 30 percent. It now takes roughly 3 to 4 business days to certify and publish an app," he explained.

Adding, "We're also seeing a similar decrease in the lag time between certification and availability of your app in the Marketplace--to less than 1 day, on average. (You might experience different wait times depending on the app you're submitting.)," he said.

Brix notes, that they've also made changes to improve the overall performance and stability of App Hub. "This has made common actions like creating reports on your app's performance faster and more reliable," he adds.

And, to address the issue around unlocked phone renewals. A new fix pushed now allows developers to "register a phone to their account, even if it was originally unlocked by a different account. You can now simply run registration tool to unlock the phone."

Also, that, Microsoft Advertising expanding pubCenter to 17 new markets within the next few months bringing the total of 36 markets.

Finally, Scott Borton gave a quick introduction to the Windows Phone's traffic option and highlight some new upgrades that have been happening over the past few weeks.

The primary change comes from Bing and Nokia, offering expanded traffic coverage to more highways and secondary streets, giving you more info to help you plan your journey.

And here you can see a "before-and-after example of traffic coverage in Los Angeles":

windows phone traffic coverage in los angeles

Also, depending on where you live, you might now see highways and major roads change color. "Green roads are clear; yellow and orange roads are congested. And if you're travelling on a red road, make sure to bring an interesting friend to pass the time with while you wait in traffic. Black roads are closed. If no roads change color, then traffic information isn't available for your area," explains Borton.

windows phone traffic coverage: new roads color

He also says that soon traffic data will be added for selected cities in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

If you haven't tried checking the latest traffic conditions on your phone yet, open Maps, expand the menu, and tap Show Traffic.