From the early advertisements and press coverage of Microsoft Xbox One, most people will consider the device as the combination of a gaming machine and a PC. But that is not the actual fact. The reality is you can’t actually replace your gaming PC or tablet with this one. Rather, you will need a PC or a tablet in order to enjoy the maximum capabilities of the Xbox One. When people think of the Xbox, they automatically picture gaming and entertainment activities with the device. But, we want to look from a different angle. Being a Microsoft product, we wonder how the Xbox One owners will get an added advantage from other services and products of the company.
Since Google TV was launched in 2010, various content firms have been searching for intelligent ways of putting the internet on television. During that period, Google started video on demand service by teaming up with CBS, TNT and other video providers. The era ended when CBS and some other providers broke off from Google. Later, the legacy was handed over to online streaming services including Netflix and Hulu. The built-in Internet Explorer (IE) of the Xbox One has the Bing page as its default start-up page. But you won’t get automatically logged in; you have to do it manually.
The voice recognizer of the latest Xbox is not perfect yet, so don’t expect anything groundbreaking from it. The Windows 8 styled apps placement allows you to multitask seamlessly. This feature splits the screen into two parts doing completely different things. The second screen app for the Xbox, the SmartGlass is an excellent addition though. While the physical device has some issues with proper navigation, the app eases the experiences a little. For instance, other than typing the webpage URL in your Xbox, you can use the onscreen keyboard on the display of your phone, laptop or tablet.
Previous versions of Xbox allowed the users to talk with other fellow gamers. The in-game discussion was powered by the Xbox Live Gold subscription from Microsoft. Though there are special headsets available for the latest Xbox, the device integrates very well with Skype. Skype on Xbox One looks exactly the same as the Windows 8 Skype app. The software will show the list of your contacts and recent conversations. Unlike IE, Skype automatically signs in its users. With this device, it is possible to call an acquaintance by directly ordering it. Skype handles video calls exceedingly well in the Xbox One. While projecting the caller’s image on the screen, the camera pans and zooms automatically to focus on the person who is speaking. Therefore, you don’t have to sit close to your device for better video output. As the Skype app is very adaptable to conversations, you wouldn’t require any extra chat headset actually.
The cloud service from Microsoft is divided into two separate areas. Microsoft stores the details of your account in one, and your uploaded data are saved in the other, the SkyDrive. Owners of Xbox One can easily use the cloud services of Microsoft. However, don’t expect to retrieve everything from your virtual storage. For instance, it is not possible to view PowerPoint documents in the latest Xbox device. Rather, you can use it to view your photo collection or your uploaded videos. High resolution pictures look sharp and colorful in HDTVs. On the other hand, the video playback service is still in its early period, pausing every few minutes. The One records video when you are playing games. You can upload the recorded video to SkyDrive and share it with others. Nonetheless, there is no dedicated share button like Sony’s PlayStation 4.
What’s in the Future?
Microsoft’s business of devices and services could be considered a pool of contents. In terms of productivity, a Windows PC comes pre-loaded with Windows OS, MS Office, email and others. In Windows Phones, communication and connectivity applications are brought into the spotlight. On the other hand, Xbox One emphasizes on the entertainment sector. While this is only a basic theory of Microsoft’s mechanism, the Xbox one still supports IE, Skype and SkyDrive. However, it does not have any dedicated email app or anything like that. It is clear that Microsoft wants the device to be confined in your living room or bedroom only; it is not the best-suited device for your office.
Having said that, we know Microsoft’s developers are capable of doing more than the initial services of Xbox One. While most people will consider it as a gaming device, which is fine by the way, Microsoft needs to bring something unique, really innovative to enjoy an edge in the console market. Currently, the One makes very little use of the vast Microsoft ecosystem. Integrating all the services and features with an Xbox will be an excellent idea. At this moment, we can only hope that Microsoft considers these things in the next version of Xbox.