Microsoft held its E3 press conference today and unveiled all there is to know about upcoming features for the Xbox 360 and Microsoft products. Some of the features announced, which we’ll be discussing more in depth, include the new Smart Glass for Xbox 360 streaming service, the Xbox Music marketplace, Internet Explorer browsing support and more!
Coupled with the recent additions of HBO Go, Hulu, and Netflix, the new features will boost the Xbox 360’s entertainment value even more.
Even though Microsoft did not announce a new Xbox 720 console this year, we’re still excited for the future of the Xbox!
Smart Glass For Xbox 360 & New Features at a Glance
During the conference this morning, Microsoft unveiled the following features which will soon be available on the Xbox 360.
Smart Glass for Xbox 360
Smart Glass For Xbox 360 is a new feature that will allow wireless streaming from a mobile device, like a tablet or smartphone, to the Xbox 360 for viewing on a home television. In addition to streaming content from a wireless device, Smart Glass will also push exclusive content to the tablet or smartphone to create an interactive experience.
On stage, Smart Glass reps demoed the playback of HBO’s Game of Thrones series. While the Xbox played the selected episode on the Xbox and television screen, an interactive map of Westeros was displayed on the tablet device.
Smart Glass also turns the connected tablet or phone into an external peripheral, allowing full control of games, media and web browsing which can be done via the mobile device. Everything you would expect to see on a mobile touchscreen has been adapted for use on the Xbox; features like pinch to zoom, page scrolling and the obvious tap to select function.
No specifics were mentioned about how Microsoft plans to implement Smart Glass on an Android or iOS device, but support has been confirmed. When Smart Glass hits the Xbox 360 console, later this year, you should expect support for Windows Phone, Android and iOS mobile devices.
For some time now there has been a desire to see internet or web browsing support on the Xbox 360 console. The PS3 has had a functioning browser since its inception, the Xbox, on the other hand, has come up short in that regard.
Not anymore says Microsoft. Soon Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (as if we didn’t already know what the browser would be) will be available on the Microsoft Xbox 360. There isn’t much to say about this besides the obvious inclusion of Kinect support and implementation of Smart Glass features.
The demos of Internet Explorer on the Xbox showed off a functioning browser that worked just like it would on a standard PC or mobile device.
Internet Explorer, Xbox Music Service, Nike+ Kinect Training & Smart Glass For Xbox 360
Finally, no more Zune marketplace! It has been a long time coming, but Microsoft is going to focus on their own media streaming service called Xbox Music. Unfortunately, the Xbox Music service looks to be a revamped Zune marketplace, so it’s not likely we’ll see dissimilar features at launch.
Microsoft does promise access to more than 30 million tracks across all Windows 8 tablets, PCs and Smartphones.
Nike+ Kinect Training
Nike took the stage during the conference to announce a new virtual trainer program called Nike+ Kinect Training. Obviously, as the name implies, Nike+ Training will include Kinect support that monitors technique and form during exercise. The Training program will then analyze workout sessions and provide feedback to create a more “athlete-fit” community.
Nike+ Kinect Training will also push data and notifications to a Windows Phone device for perusal on the go, as well as send reminders for scheduled workout sessions. Using a connected mobile device, you can also share workout progress and data with friends or family – likely via social media extensions or something similar.
Now we can finally take down that Craigslist ad for a personal trainer, it looks like Microsoft and Nike+ plan on taking the job!
New Features & Smart Glass For Xbox 360 Arriving Fall, 2012
Exact dates are usually rare at an E3 event, especially when it comes to major console features like these. Microsoft gave a vague release date of Fall, 2012 for the coming features.
So far, we know for sure that Smart Glass and Internet Explorer will arrive simultaneously on the Xbox 360 whereas the Xbox Music service might take longer to make its way to the console. Nothing further was given on the release of Nike+ Kinect Training, but we expect the service to be available before the end of the year.
So, even though we may be upset over the absence of a new Microsoft console, there’s no denying that exciting things are coming to the current generation Xbox 360.