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Windows Store App Labs, Free WMC to Windows 8 Pro Launches

Update 11/1: Microsoft has released released-to-manufacturing (RTM) bits of Office 2013 and the complementary 2013 servers (Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013 and Lync 2013) to volume license customers as on October 30.

A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed in the following statement via e-mail:

“Volume Licensing customers with Software Assurance can download the Office 2013 applications as well as other Office products including SharePoint 2013, Lync 2013, Exchange 2013 and Project 2013 through the Volume Licensing Service Center. These products will be available on the Volume Licensing price list on December 1.”

Update 10/26: Amazon Kindle app tailored for Windows 8 is now available and help select over 1.5 million books, including over 200,000 exclusive titles. “Over 650,000 books are priced at $4.99 or less; over 1.2 million are $9.99 or less.”

Kindle App for Windows 8

“Using the new features of Windows 8, the Kindle app enables customers to pin their books to the Start screen for instant access to their favorite titles and search their library and Kindle store with the Search charm. Customers can also use the Share charm to easily share favorite passages and recommended books to friends and other apps without leaving the Kindle experience,” informs Amazon.

The new Kindle app offers the features customers love about Kindle, including Whispersync technology which automatically syncs a customer’s last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across all of their Kindles and Kindle apps.

Get the Kindle for Windows 8 app from the Windows Store.

Before jumping on to Windows 8, which is hours away of General Availability, Windows XP officially turned 11 today. Microsoft rolled out this highly popular operating system on October 25, 2001.

Microsoft will stop providing support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Even though, the XP is the second most popular operating system and is enjoying 41 percent of market share.

“Microsoft plans to end support for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 in 2014, and that will affect your education institution if you are using this software. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide hotfixes, product updates, and most critical, security patches for Windows XP and Office 2003,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Windows Store App Labs Launches

On to Windows 8, the company just introduced Windows Store App Labs in more than 30 cities around the world for all app builders including “developers, designers, and entrepreneurs.”

“Windows Store App Labs are places where you can access the newest Windows 8 devices, get technical help from Windows experts, and receive design guidance from leading edge designers and digital agencies. The labs are stocked with the latest Windows 8 devices in multiple form factors including Windows RT tablets like Microsoft Surface, Ultrabooks, All-in-Ones, and more,” informs Microsoft.

In addition, you can get technical guidance from Windows 8 experts that include help with coding tips, debugging, and prepping your app to submit to the Windows Store.

Also, at App Labs, you can also meet with designers and digital agencies who can provide design tips that really make your app stand out. “Designers are available to review your app mock-ups or your complete app and provide feedback on how you can improve your app’s layout, live tile, navigation, and other UI elements,” Microsoft stated.

Go to www.windowsstore.com/applabs to find a lab near you.

Windows Store now holds a total of 7,873 apps worldwide, with a slight increase likely to occur just ahead of its launch today.

88 percent of the apps are free, but it seems that many more apps are sent every day now that we’re close to getting the final version of the operating system. An average of 459 apps is submitted to the Windows Store every day by the 3,367 developers currently listed in the Store.

There are only two apps available exclusively on Windows RT, while 31 entries only offer support for Windows 8 x64.

As for the United States Windows Store, there are 4,516 apps listed for download with 83 percent of them available for free.

Keith Lorizio, VP, U.S. Sales & Marketing, said earlier this month that Microsoft plans to see around 100,000 apps available in the Windows Store in less than three months after the public debut of the new operating system.

Ever since Microsoft rolled out Windows 8, the speculation surrounding the UI, the company first calling “Metro UI”, now Microsoft claims that Windows 8 actually comes with a “new Windows user interface” or simply “Windows user interface,” according to a report quoting a Microsoft spokesperson.

And, for the apps, they’re no more Metro Apps or Modern Apps, they’re either “Windows apps” or, “Windows Store apps”, or if you prefer, “Windows 8 apps.”

Microsoft for a limited time offering free Windows Media Center pack to Windows 8 Pro users.

“If your running a Windows 8 Pro, you can get Windows 8 Media Center Pack so you can watch and record live TV with Windows Media Center, you can take advantage of the following special offer: for a limited time, get Windows 8 Media Center Pack for free,” Microsoft says on its website.

All you need to do is, just enter your valid email address here, and the company will send a free product key and the links to get Windows 8 Media Center Pack.

Also, the Skype for Windows 8 is now available.

Just like other Modern App, it loads in full-screen, but it can also run in the background with a minimum footprint on system resources.

You can configure the program by clicking on the “Settings” charm, with dedicated options for both camera and microphones.

The app uses the built-in Windows 8 notification system, so you’ll be alerted whenever someone calls you or sends you a message.

Here are the main features:

  • Once you sign in, the app is always on without draining your device’s battery, so you can take calls any time
  • Exchange instant messages with all your Skype, Messenger and Outlook.com contacts
  • Call any phone quickly and easily from Skype
  • All Skype-to-Skype video and voice calls are free
  • Your messages are delivered straight to you no matter what you’re doing
  • Snap your IM or video call window left or right so you can do more things while catching up.

Skype for Windows 8

Also, launched today, is the new MSN experience optimized for Windows 8.

The all-new MSN will be the first thing you experience when you launch Internet Explorer 10 and gives you a place where you can be informed, explore and let your curiosity reign.

The content flows from the homepage to channels without interrupting the visual layout, and you’ll know what stories are most important, just by viewing the size of the story tile.

MSN for Windows 8

Watch, this recording from an MSDN webcast, “Building a charming Windows 8 app.” In this talk, you are walked through implementing the charms and some best practices in using them.

“Charms are one of many features that make the Windows 8 platform stand out from its competition.”

Finally, the released to manufacturing (RTM) version of the Office 2013 Professional Plus released to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Users, can 2 keys and download Office 2013 Professional Plus in both x86 and x64.

Installing the Office 2013 RTM requires you to remove the Office 2013 Preview, as you cannot upgrade from one to the other, unfortunately.

Office Professional Plus 2013 on TechNet and MSDN

Microsoft has said commercial availability for without “volume license agreements”, or “TechNet/MSDN” will be Q1 of 2013.

In this video, Microsoft takes you behind the scenes of the Surface Movement TV advertisement:

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