Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New Highlights for the Xbox 360 Dashboard

A sleek recent aspect for the Xbox 360 Dashboard went live yesterday evening, but this update is more than just a pretty face.  It comes with brand new functionality and new applications to enhance the whole Xbox Live experience.

If you tried to sign on last night, chances  are that getting the update wasn’t as easy  as it should’ve been.  Complaints were flooding on Twitter, citing sign-in errors and failed  update downloads.

Here are the key takeaways of Xbox 360’s new updates:

The Look:
 Horizontal is the latest  vertical.  The previous dash organized  sections of the marketplace vertically. You couldn’t see every  sector, but had to scroll through to find what you were looking for.  Right now, each  section is labeled horizontally at the top of the screen making it a breeze to distinguish the section you’re looking for.

The brand new format looks cleaner and feels more responsive  than its predecessor.  All features or specials can be viewed in one place in each  section.  No more scrolling to see what  Xbox is pushing in the spotlight or game tab.  It’s all there in one place to look at for each section.

Bing Search:
Thanks to the new Bing Search, you can search the full marketplace by entering a keyword.  It’s also a nice tool to search for things on your Xbox’s hard drive.

Bing Search as wellworks with Kinect’s voice commands.  More on the new Dash’s Kinect functionality below.

Kinect Functionality: 
The system update is also said to improve  enhance Kinect functionality, and the new dash is made to work seamlessly with the movement control device.  Swiping between  tabs is simple, quick, and responsive.  It’s a substantial  development from the last dashboard’s “Kinect mode” in both appearance  and ease-of-use.

More is available with voice commands, compared to the previous Kinect-enabled Dash thanks to the update.  The Bing Search can be controlled just by voice.  You can say “Xbox,” “Bing,” followed by whatever  it is that you want to search for.

Beacons, Facebook, and Twitter:
Beacons publish to your friends what you are doing.  If you want to publicize an achievement, or ask all your friends to join you in a game, you can do so with beacons. Beacons also tell you when friends jump onto a game that you are playing, instead than just telling you who’s playing when you enter.

New Facebook and Twitter integration allows you to put up achievements to your Facebook wall or Twitter timeline without leaving  your recent present game.

Cloud Storage:
Cloud storage is a new, free feature with the new Xbox Live Dashboard.  Every  Xbox Live Gold member gets 512 MB of cloud storage for free.  The cloud storage works like any physical memory unit.  You can save games to the cloud and then access  the files on any Xbox 360.  Transferring existing save data to the cloud is possible, too.

There is currently no option to purchase additional cloud storage, but it might be possible very soon.

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