It looks like Microsoft is set to bring back the Start button in Windows 8.1, a mainstay of the Windows OS that was removed in Windows 8. According to a report from The Verge, the new Windows 8.1 Start button will not include the traditional Start button functionality, but will rather be a method of taking you back to the Start screen. In addition to the Start button making a reappearance (in name, at least,) Microsoft is also said to be including a feature that will allow users to boot directly to the desktop, bypassing the Start screen altogether.
Read More | The Verge
T-Mobile is set to release the Nokia Lumia 521, powered by Windows Phone 8, sometime next month in May. The Lumia 521 sports a 4-inch display, 5 megapixel rear camera with autofocus that records 720p video, and the exclusive suite of Nokia apps like Nokia Music, Cinemagraph, Maps, Transit, HERE Drive, etc. The device will run on T-Mobile 4G (not LTE) network. T-Mobile is keeping quiet on exact pricing and availability for now for whatever reason, but the Lumia 521 won't exactly be flying off of store shelves, so you shouldn't have a hard time finding it once it lands at Walmart, Microsoft Retail Stores, and T-Mobile locations next month.
As we reported months ago, Pandora has finally come to Windows Phone 8. Even better, Windows Phone 8 users get free ad-free listening for the rest of the year, a feature that typically costs $3.99 per month, or $36 per year, known as Pandora One. A few weeks back, Pandora also announced a monthly 40-hour listening cap for free users, so this makes Pandora on Windows Phone 8 the best bang for your buck--provided you want to use a Windows Phone. One other cool feature is that Pandora integrates in with the Windows Phone Kid's Corner feature. When in Kid's Corner, Pandora doesn't show or play any explicit content. You can download it now.
Read More | Windows Phone
The future of search, according to Microsoft, is outside of the white search bar. "Now the way for human beings to express their interest or needs goes way beyond a browser search typing in keywords," said Microsoft's Bing chief, Qi Lu. "You can use voice to have a conversation, you can use gestures to express yourself."
Moving forward, Bing will fit into all of Microsoft's products, providing information access from physical objects to expand the context of its search.
"The battle between us and Google is going to be over who can build understanding more quickly to serve people in a much more anticipatory way," says Microsoft's Adam Sohn. "Google's going to understand every entity on the planet, we're gonna understand every entity on the planet, but the question will be what do you do with that information?"
Read More | The Verge
We recently reported on the Slacker Radio redesign, and the company is keeping the freshness going, debuting on the Xbox 360 today. You can download the Slacker app for free, and you've gotta be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber in the US or Canada for the privilege. You get the same overhauled color scheme, music guide, and Kinect voice controls. Head over to the Xbox Live Marketplace to grab the 116 MB download.
Read More | Microsoft
Twitter has finally (finally!) released a substantial update to Twitter for Windows Phone. The new version brings the design of the app in line with what you'd find in the iOS and Android variants, with the Home, Connect, Discover, and Me tabs included in the app. Additionally, Twitter for Windows Phone includes Live Tile support, so you can pin specific Twitter accounts, lists, and searches right to your Start Screen. You can grab the update right now.
Read More | Twitter
Those hoping to score a 128 GB Microsoft Surface Pro have been frustrated by lack of supply, but that should be changing this Saturday. While Microsoft has been tight-lipped regarding Surface Pro 128 GB stock since launch, the company has promised that more of the tablets will be available in stores on Saturday. This includes Microsoft stores and Best Buy, with Staples being questionable--so if you want one, we recommend going with one of the first two.
Many would-be Surface Pro purchasers were disheartened to find stock so limited upon launch, since Microsoft didn't allow for pre-orders of the devices, leading many to believe that there would be plenty for everyone, which was far from reality. You can also try your luck at grabbing a Surface Pro from the Microsoft online store.
Yes - we're giving away a Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone, running Windows Phone 8 for Valentine's Day! Seriously, February is the month of red, and we've got the perfect smartphone for you to match. The Noka Lumia 920 runs on the AT&T network, and supports LTE.
So, how do you enter to win the Nokia Lumia 920? Simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:
By the way, if you wanna pick up a Lumia 920 on your own, AT&T is currently running a buy 1, get 1 special, meaning you walk away with two Lumia 920 devices for the price of one through February 21st.
Aside from the announcement of the Surface Pro launch date, Microsoft also announced today that it will be releasing three limited edition designs for its innovative Touch Cover. Expect a red model with elegant snake design for Chinese New Year, pink color with flowers, and a blue version emblazoned with skulls. These are truly limited edition, with Microsoft saying they'll be in store for just a short time. The limited Touch Covers will also come at a premium, costing $129.99 each, $10 more than the regular models.
Read More | Microsoft