Tag Archives: skype

Harman Kardon Invoke featuring Cortana: Captivating sound meets personal digital assistant

Man standing in kitchen, holding a cup of coffee looking at the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker that combines the rich, captivating sound that Harman Kardon is known for with your personal digital assistant, Cortana, in an innovative and beautifully designed speaker for the home.

The Harman Kardon Invoke speaker combines the rich, captivating sound that Harman Kardon is known for with your personal digital assistant, Cortana, in an innovative and beautifully designed speaker for the home.

In addition to premium 360 sound, at the heart of Invoke is Cortana. With Cortana on the Invoke speaker, you can play your favorite music, manage calendars and activities, set reminders, check traffic, and deliver the latest news and much more. With Skype integration, you can make calls to cell phones, landlines and other Skype-enabled devices. You can also voice control your compatible smart home devices to do things like turn out the lights or control the temperature.

Product shot of two Harman Kardon Invoke speakers on a white background side by side, one is black in color and the other is white.

We want Cortana to be available wherever you may need assistance being more productive, and the Invoke speaker from Harman Kardon is our next step in getting there. With natural language recognition and deep integration with Microsoft’s suite of knowledge and productivity tools, Cortana is the most productive digital assistant and already used by more than 145 million people on PC and mobile devices. With Invoke, Cortana now becomes available in the home, making her even more valuable.

Visit HarmanKardon.com to learn more about Invoke and stay tuned for more updates on Cortana!

This device is available in the US only. Cortana voice activation works with select music services and home automation providers. Set up requires Cortana app for Windows 10 PC or phone (with the Windows 10 Creators Update), Android or iPhone (requires Android version 4.1.2 or higher, or iPhone 4 with iOS 8.0 or higher).

*Cortana available in select markets.

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What’s new in the Windows 10 Creators Update

We believe that everyone is a creator at heart and that creativity is an essential human trait. And, no matter who you are, Windows 10 is built to empower the creator in all of us. To show you some of the great new features coming in the Creators Update, we’ve got a special episode of This Week on Windows just for you. New innovations in the Windows 10 Creators Update include 3D in Windows 10, built-in game broadcasting, new tab management features and more in Microsoft Edge, and enhanced security features such as a new Microsoft privacy dashboard.

You can get the Creators Update in a few different ways. If you already have a Windows 10 PC and have automatic updates enabled, the update will be delivered to you when it’s ready. If you are an advanced user and would like to get the update manually, visit this blog post to learn how to get the Creators Update. Another great way to take advantage of the Creators Update is to purchase a new Windows 10 PC from Surface or our partners. Currently, we’ve got some great offers on Windows 10 PCs from Microsoft Store – you can save up to 33% on select PCs, including Dell Inspiron 15, Dell Inspiron 13, HP Pavilion x360, and ASUS ZenBook Flip, at Microsoft Store and microsoftstore.com in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico through April 17.

And, in case you missed it, yesterday we announced new creativity apps with unique capabilities for Surface Dial.

Here’s a more detailed list of what’s new in the Windows 10 Creators Update

3D in Windows 10

Remix3D.com community in the Windows 10 Creators Update.

Now with the Creators Update, you have a new app called Paint 3D and access to an online creative community at Remix3D.com.

3D in Windows 10 comes to life in the Creators Update to allow anyone to experience, create, and share in a new dimension. With 3D, we can communicate ideas and express ourselves better, and learn faster, because it’s much more representative of the world we live in.

Now with the Creators Update, you have a new app called Paint 3D and access to an online creative community at Remix3D.com. The all-new Paint 3D allows you to create or modify 3D objects, easily change color or texture, or turn 2D images into 3D works of art. To launch Paint 3D, click here.

With Remix3D.com, you can share, discover, and be inspired by millions of 3D objects. Remix3D.com lets you connect with other creators, find new ideas, and get instant access to a library of 3D objects to customize, remix, and share with the creative community.

New features for Windows 10 PC gamers: gamers can share their passion by connecting, streaming and playing together 

Beam game broadcasting

With the Creators Update, built-in game streaming with Beam is the easiest and most interactive way to stream your gameplay on Windows 10. Pressing Windows key + G while playing your game will bring up the Game bar, where you’ll find we’ve added a broadcast icon to launch Beam – no extra software required.

Built-in game broadcasting on Windows 10. Now you can effortlessly stream your gameplay using the Game Bar—just hit Windows + G, click Broadcast, and start streaming on Beam—all without the need for additional log-ins.

Built-in game broadcasting on Windows 10. Now you can effortlessly stream your gameplay using the Game Bar—just hit Windows key + G, click Broadcast, and start streaming on Beam—all without the need for additional log-ins.

This offers everyone the opportunity to showcase their creativity as a game broadcaster. And with Beam’s low-latency technology, viewers experience less than a second of delay, enabling broadcasters to engage and interact with their viewers in near real-time. This low-latency technology enables Beam broadcasters to incorporate interactive features, such as animation and sound triggers, right into their streams.

New gaming section in System Settings

Inside the main Windows System Settings, a new section has been added: Gaming, identified with the Xbox logo. This new section unifies your Windows 10 gaming settings in one place. In the Creators Update, there are four settings options: Game bar, GameDVR, broadcasting, and Game Mode. Game Mode may be easily turned on and off for specific games using the Game bar (Windows key + G).

Game Mode

With Game Mode, it’s our goal to provide a better and more consistent gaming experience on Windows 10, by dedicating more system resources to your game. Game Mode also works for both Win32 and UWP games. To enable Game Mode while playing a game, pull up the Game bar (Windows key + G) and click on the Settings button to opt the running game into using Game Mode. The Creators Update is just the first milestone in our commitment to Game Mode and Windows 10 performance improvements for PC gaming.

More games supported by Game bar

In the Windows 10 Creators Update, we’ve continued to expand support for Windows Game bar in full-screen mode to more than 80 of the most popular PC games. You can also now manage this feature in the new Gaming section of Windows Settings. Look for “Game bar,” and make sure the “Show Game bar when I play full-screen games Microsoft has verified” setting is checked. A regularly updated list of supported titles is available here.

To learn more about all the new gaming features available in the Creators Update, head over to Xbox Wire.

Microsoft Edge gets even better with a whole new suite of tab management features, new extensions, and a new bookstore and reading experience

Microsoft Edge is the faster, more secure browser built for Windows 10, and with the Creators Update, Microsoft Edge is faster than Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and offers longer battery life. When unplugged and on-the-go, you can stream video and browse longer. Microsoft Edge streams video up to 3 hours longer than Google Chrome and up to 5 hours longer than Mozilla Firefox, letting you binge watch your favorite show longer without needing a charge. You can also browse nearly a full hour longer with Microsoft Edge when compared to Google Chrome, and nearly two hours longer when compared to Mozilla Firefox.**

Tab preview bar in Microsoft Edge with the Windows 10 Creators Update.

Tab preview bar: It’s easy to lose track of what’s in your tabs, especially when you have many tabs from the same site, with similar titles and icons.

Tab preview bar: It’s easy to lose track of what’s in your tabs, especially when you have many tabs from the same site, with similar titles and icons. Tab preview bar allows you to easily glance at a visual preview of every tab you have open without leaving your page. You can scroll through the list with touch, mouse wheel, or a touchpad.

Set tabs aside: We’ve added two new buttons next to your tabs in Microsoft Edge to help you quickly manage all your tabs without losing your flow. Set these tabs aside feature allows you to sweep away your open tabs, giving you the ability to restore them later.

Set tabs aside: We’ve added two new buttons next to your tabs in Microsoft Edge to help you quickly manage all your tabs without losing your flow.

Set tabs aside: We’ve added two new buttons next to your tabs in Microsoft Edge to help you quickly manage all your tabs without losing your flow. Set these tabs aside feature allows you to sweep away your open tabs, giving you the ability to restore them later. And with Tabs you’ve set aside, you can preview thumbnails of web pages you set aside, and restore an individual or a collection of web pages to pick up where you left off.

Import favorites from another browser when you switch to Microsoft Edge: You can import your favorites, browsing history, and other data from another browser you have installed, in one simple step. Use the Import from another browser feature under Settings to select the browsers you want to move your data from.***

Jump List for Microsoft Edge: You can now launch a new window or new InPrivate window for Microsoft Edge straight from its Taskbar icon. Simply right-click or swipe up on the Microsoft Edge icon in the Taskbar, and pick the task you want!

Jump List for Microsoft Edge: You can now launch a new window or new InPrivate window for Microsoft Edge straight from its Taskbar icon.

Jump List for Microsoft Edge: You can now launch a new window or new InPrivate window for Microsoft Edge straight from its Taskbar icon. Simply right-click or swipe up on the Microsoft Edge icon in the Taskbar, and pick the task you want!

Extensions for Microsoft Edge in the Windows Store.

The Creators Update will also bring more extensions to Microsoft Edge.

The Creators Update will also bring more extensions to Microsoft Edge, including Ebates, Intel TrueKey, Read & Write, Ghostery, and RoboForm, among others.

Tap the pen or highlighter in Web Note, and you’ll now see the full set of Windows Ink colors.

What’s new in the Windows Store with the Creators Update

We’ve added a new digital category in the Windows Store called books (US only) joining games, apps, movies/TV, and music. With books in the Windows Store, you can discover and read e-books from your favorite authors across genres you love – from sci-fi to thrillers, to children’s books, and everything in between.

We’ve added a new digital category in the Windows Store called books (US only) joining games, apps, movies/TV, and music. With books in the Windows Store, you can discover and read e-books from your favorite authors across genres you love – from sci-fi to thrillers, to children’s books, and everything in between.

With books in the Windows Store, you can discover and read e-books from your favorite authors across genres you love – from sci-fi to thrillers, to children’s books, and everything in between.

In the Windows Store, readers will find favorite titles, including New York Times Bestsellers, amongst hundreds of thousands of others. We have partnered with the top publishers and partners, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as well as Ingram Content Group, to bring an extensive catalog of great books to the Windows Store. It will feature content such as Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, Cross the Line by James Patterson, End of the Watch by Stephen King, and Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss.

Once you’ve purchased a book from the Windows Store, you can start reading immediately with Microsoft Edge, which supports offline reading without an internet connection.

Once you’ve purchased a book from the Windows Store, you can start reading immediately with Microsoft Edge, which supports offline reading without an internet connection.

Once you’ve purchased a book from the Windows Store, you can start reading immediately with Microsoft Edge, which supports offline reading without an internet connection. What’s more, in Microsoft Edge you can easily personalize your reading experience with custom font sizes, layouts, and themes. Cortana* integration pulls information from the web right into your reading experience. Microsoft Edge has integrated Learning Tools accessibility features like Read Aloud and text spacing to make it easier for everyone to read, including people with learning differences like dyslexia and English Language Learners. Books is available across Windows 10 devices, from laptops to 2-in-1s, desktops, and mobile.

Dolby Atmos app for Windows 10 now available in the Windows Store

Additionally, for the first time, once you’re running the Creators Update, you will be able to experience the Dolby Atmos audio experience via the Dolby Access app, available today in the Windows Store. With the app, you will be able to experience immersive audio from a Windows 10 PC running the Creators Update via headphones or an HDMI connection to a Dolby Atmos-enabled sound bar or home theater system. Check out the app today!

A digital assistant that works across devices can now do even more to help you stay on top of everything. Here’s what’s new for Cortana* in the Creators Update.

At work and in life, Cortana is your personal digital assistant, there for you wherever you need her, helping make sure nothing slips through the cracks. With Cortana, it is easier to stay on top of your schedule, your commitments, and all the important things you need to remember to keep your day running smoothly.

Cortana loves music: You can now use Cortana to control music playback on more of your favorite music apps (EN-US only). And Groove now supports the ability to play music by mood, category or activity so you can say “Hey Cortana, play me some workout music” (EN-US only).

We’ve also enabled natural language compatibility for iHeartRadio and TuneIn Radio. This will work both above the lock screen (PC is locked) as well as below! You can try queries like…

  • Play Drake on iHeartRadio
  • Play Top 40 on iHeartRadio
  • Play NPR Hourly News on TuneIn
  • Play jazz music on TuneIn
  • Play Z100 on iHeartRadio
  • Play KUOW on TuneIn

Adding music recognition support to Chinese (Simplified): Cortana can now recognize music for customers in China. Simply tap the music notes icon in the top corner of Cortana’s home page, and Cortana will listen to whatever music is playing and use Netease to tell you what song it is.

Full screen when Idle: When using “Hey Cortana” while your PC is unlocked and idle, you’ll get a full-screen experience that is optimized for viewing from afar. Give it a try by enabling “Hey Cortana”, and then wait for about 10 seconds or so without touching your PC (available in all Cortana markets).

Cortana can help you pick up where you left off: When you switch computers, Cortana will display quick links in the Action Center to help you easily get back into Microsoft Edge websites and SharePoint (or other cloud-based) documents you used most recently.

Cortana can help you pick up where you left off: When you switch computers, Cortana will display quick links in the Action Center to help you easily get back into Microsoft Edge websites and SharePoint (or other cloud-based) documents you used most recently.

Cortana can help you pick up where you left off: When you switch computers, Cortana will display quick links in the Action Center to help you easily get back into Microsoft Edge websites and SharePoint (or other cloud-based) documents you used most recently. For example, if you were working on a PowerPoint deck on your laptop, when you later return to your desktop, a link to that deck appears in the Action Center (EN-US only).

Have more fun with improvements across a suite of built-in apps for music, maps, and photos that will work across Xbox and Windows Mixed Reality

Built-in experiences including Windows Photos, Windows Maps, Groove Music, and Movies & TV take advantage of the best capabilities of Windows 10 to help you capture ideas and express yourself.

  • Use Windows Ink**** to draw on pictures and videos in the Photos app to make them your own. Have fun, express yourself, and create something new with videos and photos that feature your personal touch. Here’s how to get started with inking in the Photos app.
  • Draw on a 2D or 3D map in the Maps app and make it yours with Windows Ink. Create routes with turn-by-turn directions, measure the distance between any two points, add notes, and mark places to visit. Here’s how to get started with inking in the Maps app.
  • With Groove, you can upload music from your PC to OneDrive to play your own tunes and make a playlist once for all your devices including Windows, Xbox, Android, iOS, and Sonos.
  • Fully immerse yourself in 360° videos and watch hit movies and TV shows in 4K or HD with the Movies & TV app.***** You can go directly from playing videos from your own collection to renting or buying hit movies and commercial-free TV shows to watch at home or on the go on your Windows PC or Xbox. And with the Creators Update, you can now explore new immersive 360° video content for the first time from partners like GoPro, Baobab Studios, SLIVER.tv, LIFE VR, and NextVR.
The mini view feature lets you keep an ever-present small window on top of what you’re doing. This means you can do things like binge watch your favorite show, carry on a Skype conversation, or control your music, regardless of what else you’re working on.

The mini view feature lets you keep an ever-present small window on top of what you’re doing. This means you can do things like binge watch your favorite show, carry on a Skype conversation or control your music, regardless of what else you’re working on.

  • The mini view feature lets you keep an ever-present small window on top of what you’re doing. This means you can do things like binge watch your favorite show, carry on a Skype conversation or control your music, regardless of what else you’re working on.
Night light feature available in the Windows 10 Creators Update.

You can now lower the amount of blue light emitted from your PC at night with Night light.

  • You can now lower the amount of blue light emitted from your PC at night with Night light. Settings to turn this functionality on or off in Settings > System > Display.
  • The Creators Update enables immersive experiences that blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds. It enables developers to create new, exciting Windows Mixed Reality apps and experiences with the recently available Windows Mixed Reality dev kits. Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, and Lenovo will ship the world’s first Windows Mixed Reality-enabled headsets later this year, starting at just $299 USD.

The most comprehensive security for everything you do on your Windows device – from visiting websites to checking emails to uploading or downloading files in the cloud

The new Windows Defender Security Center dashboard coming with the Windows 10 Creators Update gives you visibility of your device security, health, and online safety.

The new Windows Defender Security Center dashboard coming with the Windows 10 Creators Update gives you visibility of your device security, health, and online safety.

Windows continues to expand its security features with the Creators Update, which brings, even more, security capabilities to all customers to help better protect, defend, and respond to threats on their devices and networks.

  • The Windows Defender Security Center offers a single dashboard display so you can control your security options from one place – everything from anti-virus, network, and firewall protection; to assessing your device performance and health; to security controls for your apps and browser; to family safety options. For our enterprise customers using the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) service, the centralized portal first delivered in the Anniversary Update called the Windows Security Center will link to Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, via the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, to allow IT administrators to easily follow an attack across endpoints and email in a seamless and integrated way.
  • Dynamic Lock: Windows Hello can use any paired iPhone, Android, or Windows Phone to detect when you step away from your PC or tablet, automatically locking it behind you for an extra measure of security and privacy. This feature works with smartphones, fitness bands, or any device that’s paired to your PC or tablet.
  • We’re adding new actions and insights in Windows Defender ATP to investigate and respond to network attacks, including sensors in memory, enriched intelligence, and new remediation actions.

Simple privacy settings that let you choose your experience with Windows

  • A new Microsoft privacy dashboard will let you see and manage your activity data across multiple services, as well as changes to how Windows 10 privacy settings will be designed and featured for customers in the upcoming Creators Update.
  • The Creators Update introduces a new setup experience for you to choose the settings that are right for you, simplifies Diagnostic data collection from three levels to two: Basic and Full, and further reduces the data collected at the Basic level.

Skype makes it easy for you to connect with friends, family, and colleagues

The Creators Update includes the best Skype ever for Windows PCs. This next-generation version of Skype was built for Windows 10, and includes exclusive features such as mini view, SMS relay for Windows Phone, and Skype Translator for calls to mobile phones and landlines.

The Creators Update includes the best Skype ever for Windows PCs. This next-generation version of Skype was built for Windows 10 and includes exclusive features such as mini view, SMS relay for Windows Phone, and Skype Translator for calls to mobile phones and landlines.

The Creators Update includes the best Skype ever for Windows PCs. This next-generation version of Skype was built for Windows 10 and includes exclusive features such as mini view, SMS relay for Windows Phone, and Skype Translator for calls to mobile phones and landlines. It is easy to use with keyboard shortcuts, conversation search, and a redesigned group video calling view that brings everyone even closer together. Be more productive on your PC and collaborate over Skype – share screens, photos, videos, documents, and files (up to 300MB). Say “hello” with an instant message, voice or video call, all for free, no matter what device you use Skype on. Learn more about what’s new with Skype on the Skype Blog.

The Creators Update begins rolling out worldwide today. To learn more about the update you can visit your local Microsoft Store to see what the Creators Update has to offer and get assistance from knowledgeable and friendly Answer Desk technicians, including a free consultation for your device. You can also schedule a free appointment with a Microsoft Store Answer Desk technician by visiting your local Microsoft Store or going online to microsoftstore.com/answerdesk. If you are an advanced user and you’d like to learn more about how to get the Creators Update, visit this link

*Cortana available in select markets.
**More information available here.
***Microsoft Edge can import browsing history, passwords, and other data only from Internet Explorer and Google Chrome. Favorites can be imported from Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and 360.
****Touchcapable tablet or PC required. Pen accessory may be sold separately.
*****App availability and experience may vary by region and device; some content sold separately.

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ICYMI – Six Updates and a New SDK

Dev Center Acquisition & Engagement Platform

Successful developers use various channels to spread the word about their apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, popular blogs or Windows Dev Center’s own “Promote your app” feature. We’ve grown this solution over the past two and a half years, evolving it into a complete platform with machine-learning algorithms to maximize user acquisition and engagement campaign ROI.

Adding UWP Features to Existing PC Apps

In addition to Windows Store distribution and modern deployment technology, the Desktop Bridge enables you to use exciting Universal Windows Platform (UWP) features and capabilities that were previously unavailable to existing PC software.

Creator’s Update is next week!

Join our livestreamed event on February 8, 2017 to see what’s new for developers in the Windows 10 Creators Update, what it means for your apps and games, and more about Microsoft’s latest developer products. Whether you’re building for the web or UWP, the latest consumer app or line-of-business tool, there’s something in it for you.

Advertise Across Premium Platforms

The first and most important reason to use premium platforms is wider reach. Microsoft premium platforms such as MSN, Outlook, Skype and Solitaire collection are used by millions of users daily, and now your ad campaigns have a chance to showcase your awesome app when they interact on these platforms.

A triple-win with Playtem

Playtem’s monetization strategy is really interesting. The platform, currently available for Unity games deployed to UWP, iOS and Android, combines both ads and in-app purchases.

The latest Desktop Converter update is now in the Windows Store

Desktop App Converter is a tool that enables you to bring your existing desktop apps written for .NET 4.6.1 or Win32 to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). You can run your desktop installers through the converter in an unattended (silent) mode and obtain an AppX package that you can sideload on your machine or upload to the Windows Store.

Windows 10 SDK Preview Build 15021!

Check it out here: http://wndw.ms/KEXB94

The Windows team would love to hear your feedback. Please keep the feedback coming using our Windows Developer UserVoice site. If you have a direct bug, please use the Windows Feedback tool built directly into Windows 10.

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A complete user acquisition & engagement platform

With so many apps getting published to the Windows Store daily, it can be a challenge to attract and acquire new customers. Successful developers use various channels to spread the word about their apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, popular blogs or Windows Dev Center’s own “Promote your app” feature. We’ve grown this solution over the past two and a half years, evolving it into a complete platform with machine-learning algorithms to maximize user acquisition and engagement campaign ROI.

Major milestones during the user acquisition & engagement platform journey

Our platform now lets you use objective-driven ad campaigns, where you can choose to acquire more customers or re-engage with your existing customers. With the recent launch of Universal campaigns, your app can get in front of customers interacting with Microsoft premium surfaces such as MSN, Outlook, Skype, Microsoft solitaire collection, etc.

The Dev Center user acquisition and engagement platform capabilities are tailored to meet the needs of every developer. You can start with zero dollars using community ad campaigns to advertise your app for free in other apps (in exchange for showing ads for other apps in yours).

You can also promote one of your apps in your other apps using house ad campaigns – again, for free. Even more effective are our paid ad campaigns, with a great return on investment for both app install and app re-engagement campaigns.

In addition, we have recently released our APIs so that you can use the campaign creation/update and reporting information with your organization’s built-in tools.

Universal user acquisition & engagement platform

Finally, for developers interested in running larger ad campaigns, we provide extra support with additional features:

  • $50,000 per campaign limit instead of the regular $5,000
  • Higher thresholds for billing campaigns
  • 1:1 product management team support to help tune your campaigns
  • Third-party tracking SDK support
  • Custom campaign dates
  • Custom user segment generation for huge volume goals

For info about qualifying for these features, reach us at aiacare@microsoft.com.

Whether you’re a developer just starting your journey with the Windows app ecosystem or a top developer looking to find users for your next hit title, the Dev Center user acquisition and engagement platform can help you reach more customers and grow your success.

How do I get started?

If you haven’t already used the app promotion capability, follow these steps to create a new ad campaign:

  • Click on the “Dashboard” after your log in to your Windows Dev Center account.
  • Click on the “Promotions” tab under the Main menu.
  • Click on “New Campaign” to create a new user acquisition or user engagement campaign.

Check out the documentation for more details, then give it a try! If you’ve got suggestions to make these features even more useful, please let us know at Windows Developer Feedback.

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Go Universal! Now your ad campaigns can reach users across Microsoft premium surfaces like MSN, Outlook and Skype

Here’s your New Year’s gift from Windows Store team. The “Promote Your App” ad campaigns that delivered ad creatives in other apps in the Windows eco-system just got a major update.

We are happy to announce the launch of universal campaigns that will deliver your ads across Microsoft premium surfaces such as MSN.com, Outlook.com, and Skype, as well as games like the Microsoft solitaire collection.

Why should I use universal campaigns?

The first and the most important reason is wider reach. Microsoft premium surfaces such as MSN, Outlook, Skype and Solitaire collection are used by millions of users daily, and now your ad campaigns have a chance to showcase your awesome app when they interact on these surfaces.

Second, your ad campaigns will now get a very wide variety of touch points. Studies have shown that media-mix models can fetch your company multi-fold revenues. In the context of app promotions, it is the app installs and app engagements that can grow multi-fold.

MSN is primarily used in the context of news and entertainment, while Skype is used for personal communication and Outlook is used for email. Many Windows customers spend a fair amount of time playing popular games like Microsoft Solitaire. Your ad can now capture the attention of users in all these different situations, as well as improve recall and conversion rates.

Finally, the allocation of budget among the Microsoft surfaces is driven by powerful machine-learning algorithms. These algorithms start with finding the right set of users who should be exposed to your ad campaign, and then measure the effectiveness of each surface to adjust the target user profiles and budget allocations. Rest assured, these algorithms are working to give you the best possible ROI.

How do I get started?

  1. All campaigns that use auto-targeting will be universal campaigns by default. To use auto-targeting, make sure Automatic is selected for the Audience section of your campaign settings in the Dev Center dashboard.
  1. If you wish to create a manually targeted campaign, make sure you choose Universal for the Surface setting in the Audience section of your campaign.

Give it a try!  If you’ve got suggestions for how we can make these features even more useful, please let us know at Windows Developer Feedback.

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New Bluetooth features in Windows 10 Creators Update (a.k.a. GATT Server and friends)

This release is big on Bluetooth. If you’re familiar with Windows Bluetooth APIs, have been meaning to try them out, or if you’re just starting to dabble in IoT and wearables, this is a great time to take a fresh look at all things Bluetooth. To ensure the APIs we built out are functional and performant, we are working directly with Fitbit, Garmin and other device manufacturers and we would love your feedback as well.

There are three main features in this month’s Insider preview:

  • GATT Server
  • Bluetooth LE Peripheral
  • Unpaired Bluetooth LE device connectivity

A lot of the improvements are focused on Bluetooth LE, but we have improved Bluetooth audio functionality as well. While we made a lot of changes under the hood to ensure that all your devices talk nicely with each other, we also added a couple of new features.

Call Control API support comes to desktop. This means your VoIP apps can natively take advantage of Bluetooth headset functionality like pick up, hang up, hold, call waiting, etc. You will also experience higher-quality audio for voice, thanks to Wideband speech – coming soon to desktop. Now, Cortana will sound more lifelike and your Skype sessions will sound better than ever over Bluetooth.

Now, let’s break down the LE portions of this feature set.

GATT Server

GATT (or Generic ATTribute) logically describes how data is structured and must function in a Bluetooth LE device. The device that has the interesting data is the Server, and the device that uses that data to perform a function is known as the Client. For example, a Windows Phone (Client) reads data from a heart rate monitor (Server) to track that a user is working out optimally. Windows has traditionally been a GATT Client but with the Windows 10 Creators Update, Windows can operate as the Server as well. The hierarchy of classes in the example heart rate service is described below, but you can pick and choose any logical set of characteristics and descriptors to make your custom GATT service.

Your phone or PC has notification/user credential information that a wearable device does not have. For instance, when an incoming text message comes in, Windows can act as the GATT Server and notify a nearby wearable of the text’s arrival. Diagram 1 shows a sample service structure using Bluetooth classes implemented in this release.

Diagram 1: Sample Heart Rate GattDeviceService

For a more thorough discussion of GATT and all of its intricacies, take a look at the Bluetooth SIG page or the GATT tutorial on Adafruit.

Bluetooth LE Peripheral Role

In addition to GATT roles which determine the structure of the data, Bluetooth defines Generic Access Profile (GAP) roles as well.

These GAP roles specify which device advertises as connectable and which device does the connecting. To connect a device, Windows users generally go to the Settings page, find the device they want to connect and tap to connect. This action of connecting to remote devices implies that Windows is operating in the GAP Central role. However, there are often cases where remote devices such as smart locks need to be aware of Windows, or where you’re trying to connect two Windows devices. In such cases, we need to make sure that Windows can advertise as connectable. With the new Insider preview, apps can put the system in a state to advertise support for Bluetooth LE services. With Peripheral role and GATT Server combined, Windows can operate in all four combinations of GATT and GAP roles (color choices arbitrary, of course):

Diagram 2: Windows operating in all GATT and GAP roles

Unpaired Bluetooth LE device connectivity

Traditionally, Bluetooth LE devices needed to be paired with Windows to be accessed. This either forced the user to switch context to the Settings page, or caused developers to implement in-app pairing logic within the app. Unfortunately, there were even devices that didn’t support pairing, which necessitated ugly workarounds for the developer. All that is going to change now with the new Async GATT APIs.

In the new APIs, take a look at BluetoothLEDevice.GetGattServicesAsync(), GattDeviceService.GetCharacteristicsAsync() as well as GattCharacteristic.GetDescriptorsAsync() to get an idea for how to query a remote device without pairing.

What you need to get started

It’s all in the release preview Build and SDK, available to download here. Once you install the build, take a look at the classes that were described in the previous sections and have at it. We’re a little light on the documentation right now, but we will remedy that soon.

Does this mean my <insert wearable here> can get notifications?

GATT Server will open up a myriad of Bluetooth LE device-to-device scenarios that we think are super exciting! Why limit yourself to “Notifications”? Think remote authentication, smart locks, proximity and IoT! The world is your (wireless) oyster. But yes, developers can start enabling notifications now. However, consumers will only see this functionality lit up once Windows 10 Creators Update is released and their updated app is in the store.

If you would like us to go deeper on any of the topics in this post, please let us know in the comment sections below.

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How to send SMS messages using Skype on Windows 10 devices

The Skype team is excited to bring a new feature to our Skype Preview for Windows 10 users, SMS relay. This feature allows Windows 10 Mobile users to send and receive SMS and MMS messages directly from a Windows 10 PC. You can view and respond to SMS and MMS messages from your PC, no need to reach for your phone.

Making Skype the Default Messaging App

To get started, you will need to make Skype the default messaging app. On a Windows phone, launch Skype Preview, go to settings and select “Make Skype your default messaging app.”; and on a Windows PC, launch Skype Preview, go to settings and select “Enable Skype on this device to sync my SMS messages.” You can always turn this off by going back to settings.

send SMS messages using Skype on Windows 10 devices

Create Conversation

Once you’ve changed your settings, it’s easy to create a one-to-one SMS or group MMS chat. Just tap on the + button on the Recent list to start a new conversation. Add the people you want to chat with and Skype will select the type of conversation based on the participants’ contact information to ensure that everyone gets the message. If there are multiple ways to reach everyone, you will get an option to switch from Skype to SMS.

send SMS messages using Skype on Windows 10 devices

Switch between Skype & SMS

You can also switch a conversation from Skype to SMS and vice versa. You will need to have both the Skype name and phone numbers stored in a contact’s profile to do this.

send SMS messages using Skype on Windows 10 devices

In the 1:1 chat, you’ll see a line above the chat area which says “Via”. From here you can select Send Via Skype or SMS. If that contact has multiple numbers, you’ll see the first mobile number in this list. If you want to select a different number, click on the gear.

send SMS messages using Skype on Windows 10 devices

And that’s all you need to do. To learn more about this latest update to Skype preview, check out the Skype garage blog.

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Microsoft HoloLens enables thyssenkrupp to transform the global elevator industry

Hi everyone, I wanted to take a moment to share some exciting news about the work thyssenkrupp Elevator is doing with Microsoft HoloLens.

Today, in New York City at One World Trade Center, we demonstrated how thyssenkrupp (and innovation that only HoloLens makes possible) has the potential to transform their industry and help over 1 billion daily elevator passengers get to where they need to go with ease, safety and reliability.

In a world where more than 12 million elevators transport over 1 billion people each day (a number that is constantly growing), it is imperative elevator service innovation grows ahead of the pace.

Enter thyssenkrupp.

Video produced and provided by thyssenkrupp.

Utilizing HoloLens, they found that they could dramatically improve response time, increase efficiency, raise elevator uptimes and speed up service interventions to ensure mobility equipment is always running. With the help of HoloLens, over 24,000 thyssenkrupp elevator service engineers can now do their jobs safer and more efficiently by triaging service requests ahead of the visit and getting hands-free remote guidance when on site.

For all of us on the HoloLens team, we couldn’t be more excited to see what thyssenkrupp has done. As the first fully self-contained holographic computer running Windows 10, HoloLens has been helping companies and industries innovate in entirely new ways. thyssenkrupp is the latest example of how a business can be transformed through mixed reality and we continue to be amazed at the continual innovation and creativity that we’ve seen from our partners. Here is a look at how our vision for mixed reality is helping companies innovate in ways never before possible.

With Skype on HoloLens, technicians can be hands free while on the job, even when making remote calls to subject-matter experts and sharing holographic instructions between users.

With Skype on HoloLens, technicians can be hands free while on the job, even when making remote calls to subject-matter experts and sharing holographic instructions between users.

The work thyssenkrupp is doing with HoloLens centers on the use of Skype – which is available to all users of HoloLens without any additional development work required. With Skype on HoloLens, technicians can be hands free while on the job, even when making remote calls to subject-matter experts and sharing holographic instructions between users. This enables more flexibility while also complying with safety regulations. In initial trials, use of HoloLens has reduced the average length of thyssenkrupp’s service calls by 4X.

Microsoft HoloLens enables thyssenkrupp to transform the global elevator industry

Microsoft HoloLens enables thyssenkrupp to transform the global elevator industry.

This implementation of HoloLens serves as a compliment to MAX, thyssenkrupp’s game-changing service for elevators that leverages the predictive maintenance capabilities of Azure IoT. In October 2015, thyssenkrupp teamed up with Microsoft and global systems integrator CGI to develop a solution that securely connects thyssenkrupp’s thousands of sensors and systems in its elevators to the cloud. With Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, thyssenkrupp captures all elevator data, from motor temperature to shaft alignment, cab speed and door functioning, and transmits it into the cloud into a single dashboard. The solution provides technicians with instant diagnostic capabilities and rich, real-time data visualization of two primary types of data: alarms that indicate an immediate issue, and events, which are stored and used for management.

Several iconic buildings across the globe have elevators that are already cloud-connected through MAX, including One World Trade Center. The building has elevators capable of moving from the ground floor to the 102nd floor in just 60 seconds, and regenerative drives that convert energy produced when elevators decelerate into electricity that can be used to significantly reduce the building’s energy consumption. Now equipped with MAX and HoloLens, the tower is setting new standards for sustainability, reliability, and building efficiency.

We are incredibly proud and humble to be on this journey with thyssenkrupp. We can’t wait to see what they, and all our partners, will do next.

If you are a potential commercial customer or developer looking to join the mixed reality journey, check out HoloLens.com where we have all the information you need to get started. We would love for you to join us.

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Build 2016: Conversational intelligence, new innovations for Windows 10 and cloud tools for all developers — Weekend Reading: April 1 edition

Welcome to the Build 2016 edition of Weekend Reading, highlighting all the news from Microsoft’s annual developer’s conference this week.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella outlined the company’s vision to help developers embrace a new era of conversational intelligence, with additions to the Cortana Intelligence Suite and new cloud services and toolkits to help us understand the world around us and create intelligent, helpful bots.

“As an industry, we are on the cusp of a new frontier that pairs the power of natural human language with advanced machine intelligence,” Nadella said. “At Microsoft, we call this Conversations as a Platform, and it builds on and extends the power of the Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Windows platforms to empower developers everywhere.”

The Cortana Intelligence Suite – the new name for the Cortana Analytics Suite – can transform lives, with a prime example being Seeing AI, an app in development to help people with visual impairment understand their surroundings.

Additions to the Cortana suite include Microsoft Cognitive Services, a collection of intelligence application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow systems to see, hear, speak, understand and interpret our needs with natural communication. Also new is the Microsoft Bot Framework, which helps developers build intelligent bots that allow users to chat in natural language on many platforms. Both additions are in preview.

Microsoft also announced at Build the Skype Bot Platform, which allows developers to create bots that leverage Skype’s many ways to communicate, including text, voice, video and 3D interactive characters.

Terry Myerson, Microsoft executive vice president of Windows and Devices Group, shared the company’s next chapter to create more personal computing, with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and new capabilities for the Universal Windows Platform.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update features Windows Ink, which lets you handwrite on your device and create sticky notes. The update includes a proactive Cortana that can guide you even when your device is locked. And it has new Windows Hello features that extend the security of Windows 10 to multiple devices and Microsoft Edge.

“With Windows 10 now running on over 270 million active devices, we’re celebrating with our fans by delivering the Windows 10 Anniversary Update,” Myerson said. “This significant update will help you interact with your Windows 10 devices as naturally as you interact with the world around you — using your pen, presence and voice.”

New developer capabilities for Windows 10 include full access to Cortana’s intelligence, and new APIs and tools to integrate Windows Ink, Windows Hello and other Windows 10 innovations into apps. And Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition shipped, allowing developers to start building the future of holographic computing. Plus a new Xbox Dev Mode turns any Xbox One into a dev tool, enabling anyone to develop for the living room.

On Thursday at Build, Scott Guthrie, Microsoft executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise Group, announced new tools and resources for developers to tap into the cloud’s possibilities.

“Today, we made targeting every device and platform a lot easier by making Xamarin available to every Visual Studio developer for free, including the free Visual Studio Community Edition,” Guthrie wrote in his blog post.

“We are also making available a free Xamarin Studio Community Edition for OS X. Developers worldwide can now easily create apps using an end-to-end mobile development solution – joining companies like Slack, Pinterest, Alaska Airlines and more.”

BMW CONNECTED

BMW Connected

Guthrie also announced new Azure services to help developers address operational realities and take advantage of emerging trends, including the Internet of Things and microservices. BMW demonstrated how it’s using Azure, with the launch of its new digital mobility app, BMW Connected, which is based on a flexible platform the automaker built using Azure.

Also on Thursday, Qi Lu, Microsoft executive vice president of the Applications and Services Group, highlighted how developers can use the Office platform to create new business opportunities. Office developers can now build apps and place them into Word, Excel and PowerPoint ribbons. And on the Build stage, Starbucks showed off an Outlook add-in that enables people to send Starbucks e-gifts within Outlook and schedule meetings at Starbucks locations.

For the closing keynote, Steven Guggenheimer, Microsoft corporate vice president of Developer eXperience and chief evangelist, showed how partners are innovating with Azure, Office and Windows. And actor Kevin Hart weighed in with a hilarious video on how everyone wants to be a developer, highlighting Muzik LLC’s software development kit that turns headphones into a platform.

For more wrap-ups of Build, check out the Top 10 ways Build rocked it for developers on Day One and Day Two.

And finally, we heard from Nadella, Myerson, Guthrie and Lu across the Microsoft social communities as they announced the latest Microsoft updates at Build.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Vanessa Ho
Microsoft News Center Staff

The post Build 2016: Conversational intelligence, new innovations for Windows 10 and cloud tools for all developers — Weekend Reading: April 1 edition appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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Coming soon to Windows Insiders: Skype Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Preview App

Today in a blog post on the Skype Garage Blog, the Skype Team shared the news that they will release the first version of the Skype Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Preview app to Windows Insiders in the coming weeks. The app will first release on Windows 10 PCs and later on, you’ll be able to use the same Skype UWP app on your Windows 10 Mobile devices.

Coming soon to Windows Insiders: Skype Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Preview App

Some of the new features coming to the Skype UWP Preview app are:

  • Sign in with your Microsoft Account and link a Skype ID
  • Show and change your availability
  • See a list of your existing Skype contacts
  • Initiate a chat with anyone in your contact list
  • See that the other person is typing
  • Logout
  • Make one-to-one voice and video calls and send messages
  • Personalize your experience with emoticons and Mojis
  • Send photos
  • See notifications for incoming calls and messages outside of the app
  • Participate in existing group chats

To learn more about the features and functionality of the new app coming head over to the Skype Garage Blog.

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