If you missed it: Windows 9, Windows Phone 8.1, Surface Mini and Office 365


If you missed it: Windows 9, Windows Phone 8.1, Surface Mini and Office 365

News apps! Updates! Rumors! It has been another crazy week in the world of Microsoft. We’ve just about come to terms with the release of Windows 8.1 Update, but there’s already talk of Windows 9. On the desktop, the next version of the operating system may be some way off, but for Windows Phone it’s really not all that far away. It’s starting to look as though Window Phone 8.1 could start to roll out in June, and Microsoft is keen to point out that the feature gap with iOS and Android is starting to close.

Anyone looking for a new phone might want to check out the latest range of Windows Phone 8 devices available on Verizon, and well as those on AT&T. Figures show that shipments of Windows Phone are already on the increase, so it will be interesting to see how the widespread availability of Windows Phone 8.1 changes things.

In the meantime, there are plenty of apps to keep you busy, including VLC which gives you control of your computer’s media player from your phone , and the updated Aerize Explorer which provides much needed file management features. Bing Rewards is on its way to Windows Phone and if you’ve not upgraded to Windows Phone 8.1 yet, you still have Internet Explorer 11 to look forward to.

Office 365 Personal launched in India this week, and Microsoft announced that the office suite will be made available free of charge or at a reduced rate Australian nonprofits. In the US, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department switched from Google Apps to Office 365, and the New York Metropolitan Transport Authority also put its faith in Office.

New Office tools released this week include Office Mix which can be used to transform PowerPoint presentations into interactive online lessons, while Power View for Office brings advanced forecasting options to the suite. OneDrive was also updated this week with a number of highly requested features.

More Surface Mini details emerged after the announcement of New York event at which the new device is expected to be unveiled. We learned that it is likely to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor while a larger Intel device is expected to have a Haswell chip. If you want to see a preview of what the Surface Mini might look like, concept images emerged to whet your appetite.

In other Surface news, the Surface RT 32GB dropped in price to $199 and the Surface 2 4G launched in the UK . Whether you’re using a Surface or another Windows tablet, Microsoft wants you to explorer the internet using touch, and this is exactly what the touch-friendly version of Internet Explorer enable you to do.

While it is possible that Microsoft has a smartwatch in the pipeline, gamers should stop holding out for a handheld games console, as it looks as though it’s not going to happen .

That’s it for another week — more of the same over the next seven days.