Best of the Web for Windows Users – 4 - 10 May 2014

This week has had some interesting news: Microsoft has announced an event dedicated to the launch of new Surface devices, released new updates to the Skype app for Windows 8.1, Internet Explorer for Windows Phone and Smart Search in Windows 8.1. At the same time, the Nokia engineer who led the Lumia Photography team announced his departure from Nokia/Microsoft to work for Apple. Read about all this news and more, in this week's recap.

The Best Tech Related News

Let's start with the most important news of the week in Microsoft's consumer ecosystem:

Microsoft is planning a Surface event for May 20th - Microsoft is about to announce its next Surface line-up on May 20th in New York. There are lots of rumors about what they will launch, including speculation about a Surface Mini.

Making Smart Search Smarter - After rolling out Smart Search powered by Bing for Windows 8.1 back in October 2013, Microsoft has now released another update for the Smart Search feature, enabling it to better understand natural language searches. Make sure to update your Windows 8.1 to make the most out of this enhancement.

Apple hires Nokia engineer who worked on impressive PureView phone cameras - Ari Partinen, the Nokia engineer who worked as the Lumia Photography lead and made impressive progress with the Nokia PureView cameras, has announced that he will be working for Apple starting with June 2014. Although it is too soon to tell what this will mean for Microsoft's line of smartphones, it is a very interesting move.

Here's what Bill Gates thinks about spinning off Xbox and Bing - Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and current technical advisor to CEO Satya Nadella, says that he doesn't see any reason why Microsoft would spin off Bing. However, he would definitely support the company if they wanted to spin off Xbox.

What's new in Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone - Microsoft has published the full list of improvements for Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone 8.1. The list includes quick site access, URL predictions, unlimited tabs, live pinned sites and more. Read the full article to learn about this important update.

Microsoft files for smartwatch patent - An application filed by Microsoft in 2012 to the U.S. Patent Office was released last week. The application shows Microsoft's outlined plans for building a smartwatch that could include a fitness tracker and a music player, as well as phone and messaging functions. If the project takes off, Microsoft will compete not only with Samsung, Google or Apple, but also with emergent start-ups, like Pebble, who has sold an impressive amount of smartwatches last year.

Skype for Windows 8.1 updated, favorites now sync up across devices - After updating Skype for Windows 8.1 just over a month ago, Microsoft has released another set of useful updates for the app. The new version now syncs your favorite contacts across all of your devices, lowering the time needed to scroll through your contact list. Chat logs and favorites also take less space in the app now.

The Best Tech Tips & Guides

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

Samsung ATIV SE review - Is it good enough to be your next phone? - Samsung have launched a new Windows Phone model for the US market. Learn more about what it has to offer from this review.

How to Auto-Lock or Unlock Your Windows 8 PC With a Bluetooth-Enabled Phone - The team at GuidingTech has published a tutorial on locking your Windows 8.1 computer or device by using a third-party app controlled through your smartphone, via Bluetooth. Read the full article to learn more about this trick.

Should I install Internet Explorer updates although I disabled it? - An explanation of why you should always install Internet Explorer updates even if you don't use it. Read this topic to understand why this minimizes the risk of being subject to malware attacks.