Best of the Web for Windows users - 21 - 27 February 2016

This week Microsoft has acquired Xamarin - a company that aids cross-platform development for mobile applications. Also, they have revealed new details about their Universal Windows Platform applications. Another good news is that HP has announced a high-end smartphone running Windows 10 that's designed to be your one and only device — smartphone, laptop, and desktop PC. To learn more details about these events, as well as other interesting news, read this week’s recap:

Microsoft: the news of the week

These articles are this week's most important news in Microsoft's ecosystem:

Microsoft finally acquires mobile app development company Xamarin - This is the biggest news of the week: following years of rumors, Microsoft has acquired Xamarin, a company that aids cross-platform development of mobile applications. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Microsoft: Our Android Windows 10 bridge is dead, but iOS, Win32 ones moving ahead - The day after announcing it had purchased cross-platform mobile tool vendor Xamarin, Microsoft officials are offering a few new details about the company's Universal Windows Platforms onboarding strategy.

First sign of OneDrive placeholders returning appears in Redstone build - Rumors have been swirling around for a few months now that OneDrive placeholders would make a return in the Redstone update for Windows 10. Twitter user WalkingCat has uncovered the first signs of that actually happening.

HP's Elite x3 is designed to be your Windows phone, laptop, and desktop - At a time when almost no one else is building Windows phones, HP is about to go all in on one: it's today unveiling the Elite x3, a high-end smartphone running Windows 10 that's designed to be your one and only device — smartphone, laptop, and desktop PC.

Microsoft, Google, Facebook Back Apple in Blocked Phone Case - Microsoft will file an amicus brief to support Apple in its fight with the U.S. government over unlocking a terrorist’s iPhone, President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said at a congressional hearing Thursday to discuss the need for new legislation to govern privacy. Google and Facebook plan to file a separate industry brief according to people familiar with the matter, and Twitter said it expects to join a friend of the court brief as well.

Leaked video gives us our closest look yet at HoloLens UI - Microsoft HoloLens isn’t due out on consumer shelves for quite some time, but developers will soon be getting access to HoloLens development kits so they can start developing apps for the device. We’ve seen very little regarding HoloLens UI outside of official, scripted demos seen on stage, until now, as a new video has leaked showcasing the HoloLens UI in more detail.

Windows 10 telemetry secrets: Where, when, and why Microsoft collects your data - How does Windows 10 telemetry really work? It's not a state secret. Ed Bott has gone through the documentation and sorted out the where, when, and why. If you're concerned about private documents accidentally leaving your network, you might want to turn the telemetry setting down.

This is how Microsoft is integrating its Android apps into Cyanogen OS - Microsoft announced a deal to bundle its Android apps on Cyanogen OS last year. The deal includes deep integration of Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant, allowing it to replace Google Now. We’ve heard a lot about this partnership, but Cyanogen is now demonstrating exactly how these apps integrate further than normal Android ones.

iOS versions of Microsoft Word and Excel Mobile updated with Box integration - Microsoft issued an update to Word Mobile and Excel Mobile for iOS that adds another cloud storage option: support for the Box cloud-storage service.

Microsoft Lumia 550 won't charge with Windows 10 Mobile build 14267 for some users - Some users are reporting that when placed on a charger, the Lumia 550 does not show that it's charging. The user who initially posted the problem stated that he was able to roll back to a prior build before the battery died.

Microsoft kills off Qik, the video messaging service you didn’t know it had - You'll be forgiven for having forgotten about Skype Qik, the short video messaging service from Skype that Microsoft launched in October 2014. It offered low friction messaging—no need to create an account, merely having a phone number would do—similar to WhatsApp, SMS, or all sorts of other popular messaging services. Well, now it's going away.

Cool tips and guides

We would like to share several tips and guides from other websites in the tech blogosphere:

How to Choose the Best USB Charging Station for All Your Gadgets - Smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, fitness trackers, and all our other gadgets leave us burdened with multiple chargers and so much clutter. Liberate your outlets and charge all your devices with a single plug.

4 Extensions by Google That’ll Speed Up Your Chrome Workflow - If you’re a Chrome user, you don’t need to leave the web page you’re on for regular tasks like sending emails via Gmail. You can take care of them in a couple of clicks with some handy extensions from Google.

Tips for Taking Better Photos With Your iPhone - Videographer Mattdgonzalez has created a basic introduction video on how to take better photos using your iPhone and the stock camera app.