Microsoft unveiled its next-generation Xbox One video game console in Redmond, Washington, complete with Skype capabilities. The company is positioning the new Xbox as an all-in-one entertainment system for the living room. Microsoft only briefly addressed games, instead focusing on the stuff that is under the hood, turning the Xbox One into something that makes your TV more “intelligent” according to Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s corporate VP of marketing, strategy and business for the interactive entertainment arm of the company.
“Instant switching” is a feature of particular interest; it allows users to shift between applications by literally talking to the TV. For example, the Xbox will switch to live TV when saying “watch TV,” and users can Skype with one another by saying something like “Skype.” This could prove to be a lot better than having to manually point and click the icon on the screen.
“Snapmode” allows users to run multiple programs alongside each other and easily interact without having to shut one down to start up another. Again, for Skype users on the system, this could be a valuable asset. There’s a whole smorgasbord of additional features in tow.
The UI is classic Windows 8-style live tiles, along with a Windows side for apps. Unfortunately, the new storefront on Xbox One won’t be compatible with Windows 8/RT apps as they are right now (sorry Windows 8/RT LINE app users) but Microsoft’s engineers have told Engadget that the underlying similarity between Windows 8/RT and Windows for the Xbox should make porting pretty easy.
In terms of specs, the console has an 8-core CPU, USB 3.0, WiFi direct, Blu-ray, 500GB HDD, HDMI input and output, and 802.11n wireless. So it’s a pretty powerful device. As VoIP and messaging app users and lovers, I’m sure we’re all for better and more devices on which to use these applications.