Weekend recap: New Windows 8.1 PCs, Siri vs Cortana, new Lumia Windows Phone devices, and more


Weekend recap: New Windows 8.1 PCs, Siri vs Cortana, new Lumia Windows Phone devices, 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.”

The world welcomed three new Lumia handsets during the IFA 2014 event earlier this week. Microsoft finally took the wraps off the “selfie phone” now known as the Lumia 730/735, along with the first “affordable” flagship Windows Phone device called the Lumia 830. Also at the IFA 2014 tradeshow, chipmaker Intel launched its Core M processor line. The company says that M chips will allow PC makers to build much thinner designs, and get extra battery life.

The next firmware update for Lumia handsets has been confirmed and it will be called Lumia Denim. You can head over here to read about the complete list of new features set to arrive in the upcoming firmware update for Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft also unveiled the HD-10, a Miracast accessory for Lumia devices with NFC support. The accessory gives Lumia owners the ability to view high quality content on a bigger display from their phone.

Microsoft also rolled out updates to several Nokia branded apps, renaming them with a Lumia brandingOpera Mini and the unofficial Pushbullet app for Windows Phone 8.1 were also made available this past week. Windows Phone 8.1 Update 2, on the other hand, is rumored to include an organized Settings app, wider availability of Cortana, and much more.

During IFA 2014, Lenovo unveiled a 2-in-1 Thinkpad Helix Ultrabook, HP unveiled three Windows 8.1-powered tablets, including two Envy X2s and Pavilion X2, and Lenovo launched two new tabletop Windows 8.1 PCs, the Horizon 2s and 2e. Toshiba announced a trio of new Windows laptops with Windows 8.1, while Acer announced 3 touch-centric Windows 8.1 laptops: Aspire R 13, R 14, and Switch 11. ASUS, joining in on the party, announced the budget-friendly EeeBook X205, which comes with Windows 8.1 with Bing.

Lenovo also announced two new gaming devices, a 17-inch Y70 Touch laptop and Erazer X315 desktop, while Acer announced the Windows 8.1-powered Iconia Tab 8 W, priced at $150. Toshiba also launched a $120 Windows 8.1 tablet Encore Mini.

We compared Gmail with Outlook.com this week and we posed the question “which email service is better?” OneDrive, on the other hand, saw an increase in its upload file size limit, no longer capped at 2GB.

Microsoft rolled out a major refresh to the Office Store this week, along with the launch of new international markets and increased visibility of third-party apps. Microsoft wants to make it easier for customers to find relevant apps faster.

Getty Images filed a lawsuit against Microsoft in U.S. District Court this past week targeting the newly released Bing Image Widget. Getty is asking the judge to block the widget and award damages. Getty claims Microsoft has turned digital images into a free ‘clip art’ collection.

One of the most popular games online, Minecraft, allows users to build and create using nothing but imagination. The title was also a hit on the Xbox 360, but now it is making its way to the new generation of the Microsoft gaming platform, arriving on the Xbox One. 

Microsoft re-released the August Update (Update 2) for Windows 8.1 earlier this week. Windows 8.1 and Windows 8 are now running on 13.37% of computers around the world, according to the latest data by Net Applications. 

Microsoft also uploaded a new video showcasing the all new HTC One M8 for Windows. In this video, Cortana goes head to head against Siri (yet again), showing off how Cortana is the superior digital assistant. You can watch that video below.

Stay tuned for next week’s Weekend Recap!