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Today’s the new Xbox day. After Sony on February 20 revealed its PlayStation 4 without actually showing anything in way of the hardware, the Windows giant during a special event at its Redmond headquarters announced a next-generation Xbox console dubbed the Xbox One. The system is billed as an “all-in-one entertainment system” which promises to “put you at the center of a new generation of the living room.”
Digging deeper, the One wants to replace your Apple TV, Roku, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation and any similar box by becoming the only box your TV set really needs. And yes, it indeed has what it takes to become the center of your living room. Go past the fold for the full breakdown…
On the hardware front, the One is a powerhouse: it runs an eight-core x86 processor with 8GB RAM, has USB 3.0 and 500GB of storage space and HDMI in and out. Microsoft also touted over five billion transistors driving the One.
The system relies on the enhanced Kinect for pretty much everything you do. That’s why the Windows maker has decided to ship a Kinect sensor with every Kinect One sold. That’s right, the Kinect is no longer an optional accessory and now comes standard with every Xbox One unit sold.
The new Kinect is responsible for voice-activated features used throughout the system. In addition to powering the system up and down with your voice, you can pause a movie by saying ‘Xbox, pause’, resume playing (‘Xbox, resume’) and so forth.
And the instant you power up the system, the One recognizes who you are, what movies and television shows you like and tailors the revamped Home screen to your liking.
And here’s the redesigned controller.
The unsightly battery bump on the back is finally gone for good, enabling Microsoft’s industrial designers to create a sleeker unit. Not only does the redesigned controller feels more natural in your hands, it’s control buttons are more accessible now.
Another cool feature: the One’s built-in Kinect microphone is so sensitive to your presence that it can pick up your heartbeat while you’re exercising and process audio personalized to specific individuals. In fact, the One’s always-on listening mode means the system is “ready when you are.”
Specifically, the new Kinect listens to you at all times, allowing you to power up the One simply by saying ‘Xbox On’, even when the console is turned off. The always-on listening relies on the One running in an extremely low-power state which keeps only the basic features active.
Another killer feature: the One integrates with your existing cable set-top box, a feature we’ve long held Apple should add to its Apple TV hockey-puck. This means you can navigate and watch live TV from your cable, telco or satellite set-top box through your One.
And with the ability to switch to, say, ESPN straight from a video game just by saying ‘Xbox, ESPN’, the new Xbox has a lot to offer as a home theater entertainment device.
But wait, there’s more.
With the new Snap multitasking feature, you can play a game while watching your favorite movie, or chat with friends on Skype (group Skype calls are supported) while watching live TV or track your fantasy team on TV as you watch the big game.
They also have a tailored program guide called OneGuide which lets you search content by network, name or time, just by asking.
Topping it all off, your One features NFL Fantasy Football integration, has Skype and Smart Glass (basically Microsoft’s AirPlay) and will install games on built-in storage.
Here’s more on that multi-year NFL partnership.
With features like these, the One admittedly stands a chance of becoming an all-encompassing home entertainment system.
Here’s your Xbox One unveil video.
Another one with Xbox executives Yusuf Mehdi, Phil Spencer and Marc Whitten discussing how the One brings your games, TV, movies, music, sports and Skype together.
Microsoft as of today has 76 million Xbox 360 units worldwide and 46 million users connected via the Xbox Live service. Xbox Live itself is powered by a network of an astounding 300,000 servers – that’s more server computing power than was available in all of the Internet in 1999, according to Major Nelson.
And right below is the behind-the-scenes video with Lisa Gurry and Major Nelson explaining how the Xbox One was created on Microsoft’s Xbox campus in Redmond, Washington, where the magic happens.
For those wondering, Microsoft has over 3,200 employees working on the Xbox project.
Summing up, all this whiz-bang technology comes at a price: the One won’t play your existing Xbox 360 games – but who the heck cares about legacy games, anyway?
Speaking of games, here’s Quantum Break, a new title from the creators of Alan Wake and Max Payne that promises to blur the line between gameplay and television.
Forza Motorsport 5 from Turn 10 Studios, an Xbox One launch exclusive.
Call of Duty: Ghosts Reveal also looks promising.
And here are EA Sports upcoming One titles powered by the new Ignite engine that incorporates human intelligence algorithms, true player motion and living worlds.
Microsoft will have more Xbox One news, including pricing and availability, coming up at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which takes place June 11-13 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
In the meantime, read Microsoft’s press release, check out the official Xbox web site or browse Xbox on Instagram.
An avid gamer like myself would praise Microsoft’s execution of today’s unveiling. I’ll just go ahead and admit that I’m pretty stoked about the One.
With that off of my back, it’s worth pointing out that not only is Microsoft pushing aggressively into the home entertainment space with the new Xbox, it’s also keen on not repeating the mistake of Google (Nexus Q Orb), Apple (Apple TV) and others.
At a time when people are growing increasingly wary of unsightly boxes, methinks Microsoft has created an unsuspecting, stealthy gadget that just unassumingly sits right under your telly, “ready when you are.”
And make no mistake about it, Microsoft’s One sure as hell means trouble for the Apple TV (not everyone agrees, of course).
So, what do you make of all of this?
You're reading Xbox One Unveiled: Apple Should Be Worried
Games can eat through internal console storage rather quickly, so you may be searching for a workaround “How to get more storage on the Xbox One or Xbox Series?”
The options are very similar for either the Xbox One or the Xbox Series family consoles. See, there’re two ways to expand your storage. Either you manage what’s already there or buy an extra storage drive.
There’re some rules, especially for the Xbox Series consoles. But if you want to avoid re-downloading a game every time, your best option is to buy an extra drive.How to Get More Storage on Xbox Consoles
The Xbox One console family ships with a 500GB HDD storage drive or 1TB of storage.
The first thing you can do is swap the storage for a bigger one, but it’s not as convenient as adding an external drive.
The best way to expand your Xbox One or Xbox Series memory is by adding an external hard drive. The process is similar on either console, although the Xbox Series has an official external storage card for better functionality.Adding External Storage to the Xbox One
You can buy an external drive and plug it into any Xbox One’s USB ports. We recommend you to buy one, rather than using an old one you have around.
There’re certain requisites these drives must fulfill:
The minimum storage must be 256GB. The maximum storage is 16TB.
The USB type must be 3.0
You can use up to 3 external drives
The drive can be either HDD or SSD. On SSD drives, games can load a bit faster.
The drives must have the proper format. You can configure the format with the console, though, so it’s not to worry.
Any portable or external HDD or SSD can work on the Xbox One. Some manufacturers create items specifically for the console, but these are usually more expensive.
Regardless, here’re some examples:
You would recognize these are 3.0 USB drives by reading the specifications. In particular, you’d see “USB 3.0” on the “Hard Disk Interface” bracket.Configuring an External Drive on Xbox One or Xbox Series
After you buy the external storage you want, here’re the options to configure the drive:
Turn on the console
Plug the drive into any of the Xbox One’s USB ports
When you first connect it, the Xbox will ask you if you want to format the device
Otherwise, here’re the steps to format the device yourself:
These options are the same for Xbox One or Xbox Series, as both consoles share interface and features.Adding External Storage to the Xbox Series
The Xbox Series ships with 500GB or 1TB of storage. Moreover, it supports the same external drive expansions as the Xbox One. It means they must fulfill these three requisites:
A minimum of 256GB storage, up to 16TB
You can only use up to 3 external drives
A USB 3.0 interface
The portable drives can be either HDD or SSD
However, new-gen games can only run on the internal SSD. It means Xbox Series games and “Optimized for Xbox Series X/S” titles must be running from the internal SSD.
Aside from the internal SSD, you can also buy the official Seagate Storage Expansion Card for the Xbox Series X or S. It will run your new-gen games.
In summary, here’re the functionality of the drives on the Xbox Series:
Media TypeInternal SSDSeagate Expansion CardUSB External DriveXbox Series X/S gamesCan run Can run Only storageXbox One games (Optimized)Can run Can runOnly storageXbox One games (not optimized)Can run Can run Can run Xbox 360 gamesCan run Can run Can run Xbox gamesCan run Can run Can runConfiguring the Official Seagate Expansion Card for Xbox Series
The official Seagate expansion card for the Xbox Series is a plug & play device. You connect it to the back of the console as a regular USB drive, and you should be able to use it immediately.
To configure the official expansion card on your Xbox Series, these are the steps:
If you don’t see the card, remove it, wait 30 seconds, and place it again on the USB port.
As you see, the steps are the same as configuring a regular external HDD or SDD drive.How to Manage Your Xbox Storage
Aside from spending your money to buy extra storage, you can also manage the items on your drive. These items include saved files, apps, games, videos, screenshots, etc.
However, system files will take up some space, so even without any games or apps, you won’t see the full 500GB or 1TB.
Either way, we’re sharing a few tips to manage your storage. Some of these include the possibility of you using an external drive.Manage Your Internal and External Storage
After you connect and configure external storage, here’s how to manage your internal and external drives:
You can hover over any drive and press the Menu button on your controller for a list of options. Here’re things you can do:View Contents
It takes you to games and apps, and you can see how much space any game or app is using. If you want to uninstall something:
Press the menu button on your controller
Select Manage game and add-ons
Check the box of the items you want to uninstall
Select Save changesInstall Here by Default
It will choose the drive as the default install location of any game or app you download.Move or Copy
The option allows you to transfer files from one drive to another. That includes games, apps, screenshots, videos, and more.
Here’s how to do it:Uninstall Things
As I explained above, it will allow you to uninstall games and apps. You simply check the boxes and then uninstall games and apps.Uninstall, Move, or Copy Games
Some of these options on the storage menu are available on the Games & apps menu. In particular, you can uninstall a game like so:
Press the Xbox button to open the guide
Go to My games & apps
Select See all
Select Games or Apps
Highlight a game
Press the Menu button on the controller
Select UninstallDelete Local Files
Another option is deleting your saved files, which take a significant amount of storage. Microsoft will keep your data on the Xbox Live cloud, so you don’t need to have the “physical” copy on your console.
Here’re the steps:Remove Leftover Add-ons
Leftover add-ons are the items that remain after you uninstall a game. Here’s how to remove it:
Press the Xbox button to open the guide
Go back to My games & apps
Select See all
Select Free up space
Select Leftover add-ons or Shrinkable games
Select Uninstall All
Microsoft’s Project Scorpio has been revealed as Xbox One X, and it’s the newest, most powerful, member of the Xbox family packing some impressive hardware specs to deliver true 4K gaming and 4K UHD Blu-ray playback, HDR, wide color gamut, and premium Dolby Atmos sound.
During E3 2023, Microsoft officially introduced its new game console, which won’t replace the current Xbox One S or original Xbox One, instead, it’s just another, more capable version.
You’ll notice that the major difference comes in the processor, graphic card, and memory. Of course, with such hardware, it’s also needed a bigger power supply, but it doesn’t necessarily mean a bigger console. In fact, Xbox One X is the smallest Xbox ever.
Similar to the Xbox One S, you won’t find a Kinect port, but you can use a USB adapter, and the power supply is built inside, it’s not external. You won’t find USB Type-C either on Xbox One X.Xbox One X vs. Xbox One S vs. Xbox One specs
Here are the technical hardware specs for Xbox One X, which are also compared against the Xbox One S and Xbox One.
SpecsXbox One XXbox One SXbox One
Dimensions11.8 x 9.4 x 2.4-in11.6 x 9.1 x 2.5-in13.5 x 10.4 x 3.14-in
Weight8.4 pounds6.4 pounds7.8 pounds
GraphicsCustom AMD integrated GPU @ 1172GHz, 40 CUs, Polaris features, 6.0 TFLOPsCustom AMD Radeon integrated GPU @ 914MHz, 12 CUs, 1.4 TFLOPSCustom AMD GPU @ 853MHz, 12 CUs, 1.3 TFLOPS
ProcessorCustom AMD Jaguar CPU @ 2.3GHz with 8 coresCustom AMD Jaguar CPU @ 1.75GHz with 8 coresCustom AMD Jaguar CPU @ 1.75GHz with 8 cores
Memory12GB GDDR5 @ 326GB/s8GB GDDR3 @ 68 GB/s 32MB ESRAM @ 218GB/s8GB DDR3 @ 68GB/s, 32 MB ESRAM @ 20GB/s
Flash8 GB8 GB8 GB
Storage1TB HDD500GB, 1TB, 2TB HDD500GB, 1TB HDD
Disc Drive4K UHD Blu-ray4K UHD Blu-rayBlu-ray
Power Supply245W, internal120W, internal220W, external
HDMI resolution and framerate 2160p @ 60Hz AMD FreeSync HDMI Variable Refresh Rate (when ratified)2160p @ 60Hz1080p @ 60Hz
Content ProtectionHDCP 2.2HDCP 2.2HDCP 1.4
Video CodecsHEVC/H.265, VP9, AVC/H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, VC1/WMv9HEVC/H.265, VP9, AVC/H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, VC1/WMv9AVC/H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Part 2, VC1/WMv9
HDMI audio, encodedDolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, PCM 2.0, 5.1 & 7.1, Dolby TrueHD w/Atmos (from games)Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, PCM 2.0, 5.1 & 7.1, Dolby TrueHD w/Atmos (from games)Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, PCM 2.0, 5.1 & 7.1, Dolby TrueHD w/Atmos (from games)
HDMI audio, passthruDolby TrueHD (opt. Atmos) DD+ (opt. Atmos), DTS-HR/MA (opt. DTS-x)Dolby TrueHD (opt. Atmos) DD+ (opt. Atmos), DTS-HR/MA (opt. DTS-x)Dolby TrueHD (opt. Atmos), DD+ (opt. Atmos) DTS-HR/MA (opt. DTS-X)
S/PDIF audio, encodedDolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, PCM 2.0Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, PCM 2.0Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1, PCM 2.0
Codecs decodedAAC, MP3, MPEG1, WMVAAC, MP3, MPEG1, WMVAAC, MP3, MPEG1, WMV
WirelessIEEE 802.11ac dual-band (5GHz & 2.4GHz), 2×2 wireless Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi Direct for home networksIEEE 802.11ac dual-band (5GHz & 2.4GHz), 2×2 wireless Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi Direct for home networksDual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrums, compatible with IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n networks
EthernetIEEE 802.3 10/100/100IEEE 802.3 10/100/100IEEE 802.3 10/100/100
Accessories RadioDedicated dual-band Xbox Wireless radio Dedicated dual-band Xbox Wireless radio Dedicated dual-band Xbox Wireless radio
USB Port3x USB 3.03x USB 3.03x USB 3.0
IR Receiver/IR BlasterYesYesYes
Kinect PortExternal USB AdapterExternal USB AdapterYes
All your existing Xbox One accessories will work on with the “One X”, along with all your Xbox One games and Xbox 360 games through backward compatibility. Microsoft is even bringing original Xbox games compatibility. The company also says that using “supersampling” your Xbox One X games will look great on 1080p resolutions if you don’t have a 4K TV, and games your Xbox One and Xbox 360 will look even better and load times will be faster.
Xbox One X will be available worldwide on November 7, and it’ll cost $500 in the United States, while in the UK, it’ll go for 450 Pounds, and $600 in Canada.
Preorders will be available soon at the Microsoft Store, Amazon, and other retailers.
The statistics are bleak, but far from surprising. According to a new report, American businesses spend a whopping $712 per worker, per year, in the battle against spam.
“This isn’t just a technology problem,” says Rebecca Wettemann, vice president at Massachusetts-based Nucleus Research, the firm that authored the report. Email has become such an integral part of how businesses operate that spam “is now a business problem.”
And the good guys aren’t winning. “The best VC money that has been thrown at developing filtering technology has not met the mark yet,” she tells Datamation.
The Nucleus report, based on a survey of 849 users, found the following:
• Users are spending more than 1 percent of their time tackling spam in their inboxes.
enterprise-wide spam filters, two out of three email messages are spam.
• American companies are losing more than $70 billion a year in lost worker productivity.
• Spam has risen sharply since Nucleus’s survey in 2004.
• Nine out of 10 users are frustrated by spam, with one in 100 appearing to be “at the breaking point.”
At the end of the survey, Nucleus asked users what punishment would be appropriate for spammers.
Eighteen percent said that spammers should see jail time, with more than fifty percent believing that junk mailers should be fined at least $1 for every spam.
The survey also provided an “Other” option for how junk mailers should be punished. The responses were – apparently in jest – quite macabre. They included “the death penalty, slow hanging, public flogging, psychological assessment, and other suggestions that are inappropriate to print.”
Concluded the report: “Spammers, watch your backs.”
Three (Flawed) Solutions
On average, people spend 16 seconds per message in deleting spam, according to the survey.
While this figure may sound high, Wettemann notes that it’s an average; though many workers delete spam instantly, some – shockingly – actually read them fully before realizing they’re from a Nigerian spam artist. (When Nucleus Research asked the same question in 2004, the average time was a 30 seconds. Fortunately, “People are getting more sophisticated,” she said.)
Although the report’s tally of the per employee cost of spam, $712 per year, also seems high, it’s down from a jaw-dropping $1,934 a year in 2004. (The dollar amount is calculated by figuring productivity loss as a percentage of a 2080-hour work year, at $30 an hour).
Many firms are becoming ever more proactive in their battle against spam. However, this more aggressive filtering has a downside: “a growing number of legitimate messages are blocked as spam or deleted,” the report found.
The survey found three spam filtering methods that are common among enterprises:
• A confirmation process which delays the message until the sender confirms that it is a legitimate message.
• A quarantine strategy in which spam is placed in a directory to be reviewed by recipients.
• A delete strategy that automatically removes messages that the filter judges to be spam, without user review.
Each of these approaches has its pitfalls. The confirmation strategy slows down communication, at least initially (once correspondents become trusted, they aren’t subject to this step).
In the quarantine strategy, Nucleus found that users spend an average of 4.5 minutes a week reviewing messages – a minor expense that adds up over hundreds of workers. The costliest strategy, based on survey findings, is to delete apparent spam; staffers spend an average of 7.3 minutes per week searching for valid emails that have been lost.
In short, an ideal solution that bears no cost doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.
In lieu of finding the prefect spam filter, business can demand greater accountability from related parties. Notes Wettemann: “Businesses need to go to their ISPs and the carriers of the spam, and have them take a closer look at ‘What are they doing at the overall infrastructure level?’ And maybe the FCC needs to be taking a closer look at how those public resources are being regulated and managed.”
How to fix PUBG bugs on Xbox One
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PlayerUnkown’s Battleground is the ultimate multiplayer online battle royale game. The title recently reached an impressive number of 4 million players on Xbox One.
While PUBG is indeed a very addictive and challenging game, it also tests players’ patience and troubleshooting skills. From time to time, players encounter various issues that limit their gaming experience.
In this article, we’re going to show you how you can fix common PlayerUnkown’s Battleground bugs on Xbox One and resume your gaming sessions as quickly as possible.
You can use the guide below to fix the following issues: FPS drops, lag, crashes, launch problems, stutter, memory issues, audio bugs, and more.Fix common PUBG issues on Xbox One
First things first, try restarting your console. Press and hold the Xbox button on the console for about 10-15 seconds. The console should turn off. Now, press the same button to turn it on and check if the problem persists.
If this quick workaround didn’t help, continue the troubleshooting process using the solutions below.
At the same time, don’t forget to update your console as well. Press the Xbox button to launch the guide, navigate to Settings, go to All settings, select System and then select Updates. Now, select the option ‘Keep my console up to date’ to install the latest Xbox One updates.2. Test network connection
A faulty or unstable network connection may also prevent your from enjoying a smooth PUBG gaming session on your Xbox One.
Go to the Network settings screen and select Test network connection. If you get an error message after running this test, use the Xbox One Network Connection Error Solution to troubleshoot it.3. Refresh your profile
By that, we mean removing and adding your profile back. If the PUBG issue occur mainly on a particular user profile, the data and files associated with it may be corrupted.
Refresh your account data by downloading your profile again. Open the guide and select your gamerpic, scroll down and select Add new. Now enter the email address and password that you use for the account that you just removed. Be careful not to select the option ‘Get a new account’ otherwise your will create a brand-new account.
Follow the on-screen instructions to set up your account. Once you’re done, launch PUBG again and check if the issue persists.4. Clear the local save
You can also delete the local save to fix corruption issues. Here are the steps to follow:
Open the guide by pressing the Xbox button, and go to My games & apps. Select PUBG and press the Menu button on the controller.
Select Manage game, go to Saved Data and select the saved data for your gamertag.5. Reset Xbox One
If restarting and updating the console didn’t help, try resetting it. Here are the steps to follow:
Plug the power cord back in
Continue holding the BIND and EJECT buttons for about 15 seconds.
Don’t forget to select the option ‘Keep games and apps’
Wait until the reset process finishes.
We hope that these 5 solutions helped you fix the issues affecting PUBG so that you can enjoy a smooth gaming experience.
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You might think, having pored through all of the early launch coverage of the Microsoft Xbox One, that the new console was some sort of hybrid of a PC and a gaming machine.
Let me disabuse you of that notion. Microsoft’s Xbox One.
Oh, there are indeed many commonalities between the two machines. But don’t believe for a second that an Xbox One will replace your gaming PC or your office PC—or even serve to supplement the PC itself. In some scenarios, in fact, a PC or a phone is almost a necessity for enjoying an optimal Xbox One experience.
Some people have described the One, which goes on sale on November 22, as a member of the last generation of consoles—and if the Xbox and the PlayStation 4 persist for a decade or more, that may turn out to be true. Some aspects of the Xbox One feel as if Microsoft is inviting us into the future. But in other respects, the Xbox stumbles over the basics.
When you log in, the Xbox One dashboard appears.
We give it a passing grade, no more. Why? Read on.Kinect’s magic eye makes logging in a breeze
”What if a single device could provide all your entertainment, and what if that device could turn on your TV, and turn on all of your devices in your living room?” Yusuf Mehdi, the corporate vice president in charge of Xbox, said at the launch. “And what if it was always ready and connected?”
With the One, Microsoft puts its best foot forward. A spoken command—“Xbox, on”—turns on the console. If you’ve owned a previous Xbox version, you own a Gamertag, your callsign within the Xbox world. Much as in the Windows world, Microsoft asks you to tie your Gamertag to your Microsoft account, a benefit that becomes apparent later on. The Xbox One can pick you out of a crowd—literally.
Kinect then displays a small video window showing what it sees, and it overlays your name and Gamertag over your head. Unless the Kinect sensor is off, the One will automatically recognize you—and, if you’re the only player in the room, will sign you in and load all your content, automagically. You can verbally flip back and forth between users if a buddy walks by the Kinect camera. Its face recognition may not be bulletproof, security-wise (there’s the issue of twins, for example), but I would love for my PC to include this feature. Imagine how different things might be if your Surface could recognize you from day one.
The Xbox One dashboard consists of three screens. The central, home screen shows your most recent activities, all using the familiar Live Tiles motif. Panning left brings up apps, music, websites, and other content gamers can pin to their dashboard. Panning right from the home screen guides users to TV, apps, music, and videos they either own or can buy.Xbox? Xbox? Are you listening to me?
Users could orally command the Xbox 360 with Kinect, but Microsoft has tightly integrated voice recognition within the Xbox One environment. On balance, though, I found voice commands frustratingly inaccurate. (I discovered later that users can train the Xbox One to better recognize speech input, “learning” the acoustics of the room for improved accuracy.)
Speech is to the Xbox One as touch is to Windows 8—a supplemental form of input, genuinely useful in places, but annoying if you’re forced to use it. The One understood basic commands readily. But you have to know the lingo: “Launch Ryse Son of Rome” plays the appropriate game. “Play Ryse” tells the Xbox to start hunting for music and videos. And God forbid I should want to surf the Web or hunt down a band—more often than not, the One simply didn’t understand what I was looking for. You’ll probably find yourself defaulting back to the controller as your primary source of input. Ryse? Rise? You may need to do a little fine-tuning to find what you want.
The One also supports hand gestures: Opening your palm toward the One projects a cursor that you can move on the screen. Navigating within the One’s matrix of boxy squares is feasible, but trying to land on a tiny webpage link is nearly impossible. Could Microsoft’s R&D team steal a page from Sony and include eye tracking? Or would that make console shooters too easy?
There’s a bit of irony in the fact that speech recognition has been buried for generations of Windows PCs, while it’s been placed front and center in the living room’s Xbox. And whereas users have shouted and waved their arms at generations of Windows machines, that behavior is now actually encouraged.Internet Explorer: The case for SmartGlass
Internet Explorer on the Xbox One.
Ever since Google launched Google TV in 2010, content firms have been looking for better ways to put the Web on your television. At the time, Google’s promise of the “best of the Web on your TV” implied video-on-demand streaming from CBS, TNT, and other providers. But after CBS and others blocked their content from Google TV, streaming content languished—until Netflix, Hulu, and others picked up the slack.
Though surfing the Web on the One looks fantastic, actually navigating to a website is a hassle. By default, IE opens to Bing’s website. I expected Bing to log me in, but instead I had to navigate to the upper right and log in manually to my Microsoft account and Facebook.
Snapping apps Windows 8–style across one side of the screen—to play a game while you listen to music, say—provides a nice way of doing two things at once. But I never quite mastered the trick of moving from one window to the other.
The Xbox One SmartGlass app, running on Windows 8.1.
Here, however, the SmartGlass application comes through big-time.
Microsoft introduced the SmartGlass second-screen app for the Xbox, and the new iteration saves the Xbox One experience. SmartGlass steps in to smooth over the Xbox One’s navigation issues. Instead of having to type a webpage URL, for example, you can use SmartGlass (now available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 8.1) to bring up your onscreen keyboard on your phone, or to use your laptop’s keyboard. A Skype video call is one of the One’s victories.
On screen, Skype looks almost exactly like the Skype app for Windows 8. It displays a list of your recent conversations, and your contacts. I was pleased to find that Skype, unlike Internet Explorer, automatically logged me in. You can also order your One to call a friend (“Xbox, Skype David”). Instant messages are displayed as popups, which some users may find distracting.SkyDrive: Pretty, basic
Microsoft’s cloud services float inside two different hemispheres. In one, Microsoft stores everything about you: your name, identity, pins, content, et cetera. And then there’s SkyDrive, your online closet for storing your stuff.
Though I prefer Google’s method of consistently expanding storage, Microsoft’s SkyDrive feels like part of my PC. Naturally, you can tap into SkyDrive if you own an Xbox One. But you can’t pull in everything that you’ve stored in SkyDrive. Forget about viewing PowerPoint documents between bouts of Forza, for example. Instead, you can use SkyDrive to view photos and video clips.
SkyDrive shows rows of photos automatically uploaded from your phone’s camera.
While it’s hard to imagine Xbox One owners using their TV as an oversize picture frame, high-resolution shots look great on an HDTV display. On the other hand, video playback stuttered repeatedly, pausing every few seconds.
For now, the lack of chúng tôi integration means that users can’t stream their gameplay experiences. The Xbox One is programmed to record video automatically as gamers play, and you can upload snippets to SkyDrive and later share them. Still, the Xbox comes up a bit short here, especially against the Sony PlayStation 4 and its dedicated Share button.Xbox Music, Movies, and the Store
I was hoping that at least a few of the available Xbox-specific content channels would offer something unique, but you won’t see much here that you haven’t seen elsewhere already. Searching for a particular TV show will bring up a list of suggestions. But as at Sony’s PlayStation-specific store, you can simply buy what you’re looking for. Xbox Music doesn’t really do anything special for the One.
Unfortunately, playing a song on Xbox Music brings up the same bland interface you’ll find on Windows 8, with occasional blank screens interspersed with shots of the band or artist. Couldn’t Microsoft have spiced it up with a WinAmp-style visualizer? I hear the team’s available.
Again, the magic here is in being able to order the Xbox One to find what you seek. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. Content will also live within the Xbox One’s app channel, a grid of upcoming TV shows and new content from Hulu, Xbox Video, and other apps. On Thursday, Google added a dedicated YouTube app for the One, another necessity.How the One might evolve
I see Microsoft’s devices-and-services business as a pool of content. Tilt the pool toward productivity, and a Windows 8 PC fills with Windows, Office 365, email, and more. Tilt it toward Windows Phone, and Microsoft’s connectivity and communication apps come to the fore. The Xbox One collects Microsoft’s entertainment services and serves them up to best effect.
That’s the theory, anyway. In practice, Internet Explorer, Skype and even SkyDrive feel tacked on.
There’s something to be said for kicking off your shoes, grabbing a cold beverage, and relaxing in your living room—which is probably the reason the One doesn’t include a mail app—or for that matter, Office.
The Kinect camera is the Xbox One’s magic wand.
But Microsoft and its developers could do a better job of using the individual games and other types of content as planets for its services to orbit. For example: Microsoft has mentioned that an HTML walkthrough could be snapped alongside a game. Why, then, don’t we see suggested webpages (walkthroughs, community forums) when a game is highlighted in the Store? SmartGlass allows you to read instant messages from your gamer friends, but why not tie it in with Skype instant messaging, as well? And gamers might appreciate an OnLive-style application to peek in and watch friends playing their games.
Many people will see the One strictly as a gaming console and will focus on its strong lineup of launch titles. That’s fine. But if we view the Xbox One as potentially being something more, we reach a different conclusion: As it is now, the Xbox One offers too little value as a component of the Microsoft ecosystem. I’d say that Microsoft gets closer than almost every other vendor, but it still falls short.
Fortunately, there’s room for improvement. And with Sony fanboys already gleefully suggesting that Xbox fans overpaid for their $500 console, Microsoft should do everything it can to convince them that they’re wrong.
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