New Xbox Dashboard Rollout Has Begun
Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb posted an update on his blog yesterday to announce the rollout of the new Xbox Dashboard. The updated dashboard will include a number of cool features, not least of which will be the addition of the Internet Explorer web browser—finally. The Xbox 360 is the only major console of this generation not to have a built-in web browser, so its addition is notable for that reason alone. But on top of that, the IE experience will be supplemented in a very cool way when Windows 8 launches on October 26, since the SmartGlass app will finally be made available.
SmartGlass was the tablet and smartphone app that Microsoft crowed about during E3 this year, which would allow users to navigate their Xbox consoles with their touchscreens, allowing for much easier web-browsing on the TV than with the cumbersome Wii remote or PS3 controllers. The SmartGlass experience could potentially rival that of the forthcoming Wii U GamePad, not to mention the much-discussed but rarely-implemented cross-platform functionality of the PS3 and the Vita. In that regard, Sony sounds like it’s coming up last…at least, until SmartGlass is revealed to be a dud.
Anyway, enough jibber jabber. The new dashboard will appear on the consoles of three million gamers at first, and over the next two weeks it should hit everyone. “Don’t panic if you don’t see an immediate update,” writes Hryb, “just keep checking back in.”
Here’s the full bulleted list of what the new dashboard will offer, direct from Major Nelson himself:
- Refreshed Xbox 360 Dashboard. We’ve updated the UI with a few things, including an updated layout with more tiles, a combined TV & Movies channel and, in the US, a Sports destination.
- Internet Explorer for Xbox. With Internet Explorer on Xbox, you can easily find and view internet content on the biggest screen in the house, including HTML5 videos.
- Recommendations and Ratings. Recommendations will allow you to discover new favorites, generated based on a number of variables including the content you previously viewed, what your friends are consuming and what is most relevant and popular with our Xbox community. You can now rate content yourself and also see Rotten Tomatoes ratings.
- Pinning. Pinning lets you personalize the dashboard by saving your favorite movies, TV shows, games, music, videos and websites right to the home screen. It’s as easy as opening an app or a favorite movie and clicking “pin.”
- Xbox Video. Formerly called Zune Video Marketplace, Xbox Video offers hundreds of thousands of TV shows and movies for buying or renting in instant HD streaming.
- Recent. Previously called Quick Play, the Recent view gives you a list of movies, games, apps or other types of content that you most recently accessed on the console.
- Enhanced Search. The last Xbox LIVE update brought Bing voice search to Xbox so you could use voice to search for movies, TV shows, actors, directors and artists. This year we added genre search to the list, so now you can search for action, comedy, romance, drama or sci-fi. Bing voice search now includes results for video across the Web, including YouTube.
- International Expansion of Voice Search. We’ve expanded our Kinect voice search capabilities to 9 new countries – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Ireland.
Can’t wait. Honestly, Microsoft may not be perfect, but out of all the consoles of this generation, their user-interface has been the best by far. At least, that’s what I think. Your thoughts? Any feelings about SmartGlass and Xbox-enabled web browsing? Keep it clean, you preverts.
Via Major Nelson