'Companion Web' Shows How Internet Evolving - Nokia Updates HERE Apps

Microsoft shows how the world with more devices is adopting Internet. Windows Phone HERE map, navigation apps updates. Improves Windows 8.1 experience.

Microsoft tries to unify web experiences with new Internet Explorer project called "the Companion Web," which is all about a world where experiences move seamlessly across the multiple screens around us including: tablets, phones, computers, and televisions.

Because 3.6 million mobile devices and tablets are activated worldwide each day, many of them with access to the Internet, it creates a natural evolution of something called "the Companion Web," writes Bryan Saftler, senior product manager for Internet Explorer.

In fact, the rate of new devices coming online is now five times the birth rate.

The new experience that spans multiple screens and complements what you're watching on the big screen demonstrates the potential of the Companion Web in that "it not only looks good on different sized screens - smartphones, tablets, computers, and televisions - but also works great with different kinds of input - touch, mouse, and keyboard," added Saftler.

In other news today, Windows Phone's free suite of HERE map and navigation apps updated just in time for summer travel.

HERE Maps, HERE Transit, and HERE Drive now have more resources than ever for your summer travels. With, "HERE Maps adds transit station details and the ability to pause LiveSight augmented reality scenes for easier exploration. You can also tap public transit stations to quickly reveal a list of available transit lines," informs Microsoft.

New Nokia HERE Maps Windows Phone app

New Nokia HERE Transit Windows Phone app

HERE Transit now combines schedules and routes details for buses, trains, subways and more in one place. You can also create and quickly access favorites.

And HERE Drive now integrates real-time traffic information and provides estimated travel times based on current traffic conditions. For those traveling internationally, can now upgrade to HERE Drive+, "which comes pre-loaded and available for free on select Nokia Lumia" for a global navigation license for all 95-supported countries.

HERE Drive+ also adds the ability for users to navigate in offline mode without a SIM card.

Download HERE Maps, HERE Transit and HERE Drive in the Windows Phone Store.

New Nokia HERE Drive/Drive+ Windows Phone app

Also, the company has updated today July Windows Phone 8 Samples, with new samples added to the collection - and now currently offering 85 sample apps on Code Gallery.

You can grab the samples, experiment with them, and use the code to light up your apps. You can download all Windows Phone apps at http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/wpapps.

Finally, a number of significant improvements to the "WebView control for XAML" alongwith fixation of some of the main pain points that developers have felt in Windows 8 are released.

WebView, for instance, now packs support for more content sources, local state directories, and enhanced browsing functionality. Plus as an HTML and JavaScript developer, you can now use WebView in your apps as well.

"With Windows 8.1, the WebView control is now available to use in HTML apps. Previously, apps written in HTML and JavaScript needed to use an iframe if they wanted to host web content that's not part of the app. When you use the WebView control for site hosting you get better isolation, navigation, smart screen, and support for sites that can't be hosted in an iframe," Microsoft explained.

The article then goes on to explain the advantages of using WebView in Windows 8.1, while also providing some techy details to prove that this OS update is at least worth a try.

In addition, a few updates for Windows 8.1 Preview RT and Pro, as part of July 2013 Patch Tuesday, has now been pushed via Windows Update including:

  • KB2868208: ListView does not scroll smoothly in Windows 8.1 Preview
  • KB2863312: Compatibility update for Windows RT 8.1 Preview and Windows 8.1 Preview: June 2013
  • KB2868581: Update improves file search experience on SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 Preview
  • KB2867624: Repeatedly offered update for a nonpresent device in Windows 8.1 Preview or Windows RT 8.1 Preview
  • KB2866763: Single sign-on (SSO) does not work for VPN connections that use certificate authentication in Windows 8.1 Preview

Microsoft and LEGO Education demonstrate development possibilities on Windows 8.1 with SentryBot. In the video below, Antoine Leblond, cvp, Windows Program Management, demonstrates a new LEGO MINDSTORMS robot and Windows 8.1 app to inspire developers to imagine the possibilities on the platform.

Expanding Microsoft retail's footprint across the country, the company announced it would launch new Microsoft Specialty Store locations in July and August: "July 26: Mayfair (Wauwatosa, Wis. and Aug. 8: La Plaza Mall (McAllen, Texas)/"