Weekend Reading: May 6th Edition – Bank of America app hits the Windows Phone Marketplace and Bing lands some prime real estate with BlackBerry

This edition of Weekend Reading has something for just about everyone – Kinect, Windows Phone, Bing, Xbox, MSN – the works.

Here is all the latest news from this week at Microsoft:

Now in Windows Phone Marketplace: Bank of America. Just a quick heads up to Bank of America customers: the company’s much-anticipated new mobile banking app arrived in Marketplace on Tuesday. Check balances, transfer money, pay bills, and locate ATMs—directly from your Windows Phone (U.S. only).

Bing and BlackBerry…so happy together. At Research In Motion’s annual Blackberry World on Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer announced on stage a new alliance between Microsoft and RIM, outlining how the two companies can work together to help people make better decisions with Bing on BlackBerry devices. Central to this collaboration, Blackberry devices will use Bing as the preferred search provider in the browser, and Bing will be the default search and map application for new devices presented to mobile operators, both in the United States and internationally. Also, effective Monday, Bing was designated the preferred search and maps applications with regular, featured placement and promotion in the BlackBerry App World carousel.

Bing Travel Forecast: Airfares, hotel prices rising. The Fareologists at Bing Travel issued their forecast Wednesday for the 2011 summer travel season, predicting airfare and hotel costs will continue to swell. Flexibility is the key for summer travelers looking to find a deal. For those who are willing to let deals lead them to new travel destinations, there are still some cheaper options for exploring new places. Read this press release on the Microsoft News Center to learn more.

New use for Kinect: Teaching kids in Africa. A story that began with a mischievous Icelandic volcano has ended happily with South African schoolchildren using Kinect for Xbox 360 to learn English. Want to know more? Read this feature story on the Microsoft News Center, which includes a three-minute video of students at Lakeside Park Primary school in South Africa using the hit device from Microsoft.

Seven wonders of the wall. In February 2009, MSN and Berman Braun launched Wonderwall. Over the course of the last two years, the site has become a leading online destination for celebrity news, reaching more than 11 million unique users per month. Earlier this week, MSN announced a new daily program called “7 Wonders of the Wall,” which will be hosted by Brian McFayden, former MTV VJ and host of The CW's “Beauty and the Geek”. McFayden will review the 7 best stories from Wonderwall that day including celebrity news, photos, and sometimes even the strangest Hollywood stories. To find out when it airs, read this Monday post on the MSN Blog.

Xbox LIVE news for the men and women in uniform. Larry Hyrb, Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson announced earlier this week that individuals and families living on military bases around the world now have the option to use military states as a billing address for Xbox LIVE. Read this blog post for more detail.

E-mail isn’t dead. A variety of news agencies have written stories saying that the death of e-mail is imminent due to the proliferation and popularity of messaging services on popular social networking sites like Facebook. Obviously, we at Microsoft think the reports of the demise of e-mail are greatly exaggerated. Rather than rely on our own experience, we asked MarketTools Inc., to help us understand the use of email, social tools, and other means of communication in the office by conducting an independent online survey of 1,268 professionals and students, age 18 and older. Read this Thursday post on the Microsoft Office Blog to see what the research revealed.

Thanks, teach! May is Teacher Appreciation Month in the U.S., and here at Microsoft, we’re pausing to celebrate the great work of teachers around the world. Just in case you missed it earlier this week, check out this two-minute video on the Official Microsoft Blog that recognizes the invaluable contribution teachers make to students each and every day.

Thanks for checking in with Weekend Reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog