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Microsoft rolls out refreshed Bing apps for Windows Phone 8.1 - single sign-on and more

I've been using a lot of Microsoft's products lately, including the wonderful Surface Pro 3 and Nokia Lumia Icon. The combination of that tablet and smartphone create quite the awesome experience.

One of my favourite things about Microsoft's desktop and mobile operating systems is the Bing apps. They keep me in touch with things like news, weather and sports to name a few. While that is nothing unique, it is the overall fluid design that makes it a treat to use. Today, Microsoft announces that it is updating the Bing apps for Windows Phone, but there is a catch - it is an 8.1 affair only.

"We are releasing a broad set of updates to the Bing Apps which are available for download and will now ship standard on new Windows Phone devices. The app updates are available only to users on Windows Phone 8.1 which is currently in developer preview. It will be available to existing users running compatible hardware and on the next wave of Windows Phone devices in the coming months", says the Bing apps team.

The most awesome new feature for all of the apps is Single Sign-On. This means that you do not need to login to your Microsoft account for each and every Bing app. Instead, users can now log in once and all of the apps will recognise it. While this new feature is cool, it is surprising that it was not already available.

The best app of the lot, Bing News, is getting an additional source of data - the New York Times Blogs Archive. While some people decry the publication for being too liberal, and maybe it is, it is still one of the leading news publications. Even if you disagree with the opinions of the bloggers, it is still beneficial to be aware of the thoughts of others.

Bing Travel is getting the much-needed feature of flight-tracking. While I don't travel as much as I would like, I do get stuck picking people up from the airport a lot. If you've never done it, going to La Guardia and JFK airports can be a nightmare. Being kept abreast of time changes for the flights of the people I am picking up is a must.

Foodies will be glad to hear that Bing Food and Drink is getting an update too. If you are a fan of eating or cooking food, this app is a dream to use. Microsoft is updating the app with a major focus on learning - tutorial videos to learn about cooking techniques, plus recipes and tips from world-renowned chefs.

You can now also add additional sources from popular places like "AllRecipes, Epicurious, Saveur and food bloggers like Food 52".

With every passing day, Windows Phone and the overall Microsoft mobile experience is getting better. If you have never tried a Windows Phone before, I suggest trying one. Take a trip to local Microsoft Store and play with the Bing Apps - you will be pleasantly surprised.

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