Microsoft recently released its preview option for Xbox 360, giving gamers a sneak peak of its latest system update. This update contained several new features which Microsoft announced earlier this year. This update to the Xbox dashboard had been one of the most anticipated in recent years. The update contained, additional Facebook, and Twitter apps along with a few other perks.
The Facebook and Twitter addition to Xbox is Microsoft’s answer to Playstation3’s web browsing capabilities. They were added to answer cries coming from those who wanted a way to update their Facebook while on Xbox. The Facebook application is very visually pleasing and fairly easy to understand. The interface is simple, and the auto login option is welcomed. It is hard to describe just how annoying it would be to key in the username and password over and over on Xbox. For those who have the messenger pad addition for the Xbox controller, it won’t be as bad the mini-keyboards making typing simpler. The Facebook app does not incorporate Facebook chat nor does it allow you to see who is online. In fact the only thing the app is good for is making status updates and viewing photos. It was hoped that the update would have some sort of auto updating on Facebook every time an achievement was earned. This was not the case. In fact, Facebook is unable to run in the background, making you log out every time you want to go play a game. Twitter suffers from the same problems that make Facebook so useless, only allowing updates when directly accessed and an inability to run in the background. Though it does allow for one to view the popular trends. The simple interface of both Twitter and Facebook make it easy to use but both were less than expected.
One of the other features added to Xbox is Last.FM it is a commercial free digital radio station. It allows you to pick what music you want to listen to by telling it what artist or genre you like. Based on that Last.FM will sort through all of the artists it has, playing those similar to the ones you like. As it plays the artist, you can cycle through information on both the artist and song. If you allow for it to auto-play, it will run through album art and various other photos of the artist. This service is very similar to that which can be found on Pandora. Like the other apps involved in this update, it is unable to run in the background. This means you can’t do much of anything but listen to music on your Xbox.
The other major addition to Xbox is the Zune marketplace. This is to eventually replace the Xbox live video marketplace. This portion of the update is fairly simple and straight forwards. The Zune marketplace will accept Microsoft points for movies, videos and music.
Overall the update was a rather interesting mix of programs, as Microsoft tries to suit the desires of its consumers. Though the update did not live up to expectations, it is only a matter of time before more changes are made to answer the wants of those consumers who are unwilling to accept things as they are. That leaves to question, just what will be in the future for the Xbox dashboard?
E3 facebook/twitter demo
Xbox Dashboard update commercial
All videos from outside source.