Microsoft Monday: End Of Kinect, New Mixer Feature In Minecraft, Foldable Device Rumor, Skype Update – Forbes

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaking at The David Rubenstein Show in New York Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg

“Microsoft Monday” is a weekly column that focuses on all things Microsoft. This week, Microsoft Monday includes details about the confirmation of the end of the Kinect, the dropping of the Department of Justice lawsuit, the availability of Kubernetes for cloud apps, the impressive FY18 Q1 results, the new Mixed Reality Studio, new smart replies on LinkedIn and much more!

New Version Of Skype Rolls Out For Windows And Mac

Microsoft has rolled out the new desktop versions of Skype for Windows and Mac today. Some of the new features include personalized themes, @mentions and a chat list.

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New version of Skype

The customizable themes feature lets you choose a color and theme to reflect the time of day, your mood and personality. You can organize your contact list by time, unread or status with the new chat list feature. And you can pin people or groups. Since Skype is now cloud-based, you can send up to 300MB by dragging and dropping files like photos and videos. Plus Skype is now cross-device functional across mobile devices, desktops, Xboxes, etc. so your messages and content will stay in sync.

Microsoft also added a notification panel, chat media gallery and add-ins to Skype. By tapping on the bell icon, you will see the notification panel — which keeps all of your reactions to messages, @mentions and group conversations in one central place. To easily find links, media and files that you have sent to your friends, you simply tap on the Gallery button. Add-ins are essentially extensions for sending third-party content into your chats like animated GIFs via Giphy and news articles.

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Add-ins menu in the new version of Skype

Reactions are ways to respond to messages on Skype similar to the way you can respond to content on Facebook. @mentions is activated with the @ symbol followed by the name of the person you want to tag in order to get the attention of someone. Microsoft also added status updates back to Skype. And bots are now available in the desktop version of Skype, which includes ones made by Expedia, StubHub, Scoop and Hipmunk.

Microsoft

Example of the Reactions feature in the new version of Skype

You can download the new version of Skype if you’re using Skype for Mac, Windows 10 November Update (2016) and lower, Windows 8, Windows 7 or Linux and have automatic updates enabled. You can also download and install the new version from Skype.com.

Microsoft Confirms It Is No Longer Manufacturing The Kinect

According to Fast Co Design, Microsoft has confirmed that it is no longer manufacturing the Kinect. About 35 million Kinect motion sensor controllers were sold ever since it was introduced in 2010. Fortunately, Microsoft will continue supporting Kinect for consumers going forward.

Over the last couple of years, the technology used for the Kinect has evolved into the Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality headset. And the Kinect team has moved on to other projects like Cortana, Windows Hello and Gaze, Gesture and Voice (GGV).

One of the biggest problems that the Kinect faced was that there was never a major franchise game series developed for the motion sensing controller. And when the Kinect was bundled with every Xbox One, Microsoft locked developers out of certain system resources reserved for the motion sensing controller — which was viewed as an unfavorable move. So to bring down the price of the Xbox One and remain competitive against the Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft unbundled the Kinect from the console and freed up the system resources for developers.

Mixer Adds Interactive Features To Minecraft

Mixer, the live streaming video service owned by Microsoft, rolled out a new feature last week that allows Minecraft players to interact with each other during gameplay. Minecraft users that are streaming can add the “Mixer interactivity” feature to their game. And the user streaming the game can set the level of interaction that is enabled.

This feature is available in Minecraft beta (1.2.5) and Windows 10. Compatibility of this feature for the Xbox version of Minecraft will be added tomorrow. The Minecraft 1.2.5 beta will also allow streamers to broadcast directly within a Minecraft game through Mixer.

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