First thing you’re probably wondering is how the xbox 360 has anything to do with phones. Well, the new big dashboard update actually incorperates some Windows phone 7 controls into the mix. That’s nice and all, but does the whole package improve upon the old dashboard layout, or does it fall flat?
Upon first glance it has a very familiar look, if you have, or have been keeping up with the new Windows Phone layout. The font, the boxes, everything matches it’s tiny OS cousin. The biggest change is the complete integration of Xbox’s hit console add-on, Kinect. I was pretty excited about this because I have had the Kinect since last year, and I only really use it for the occasional party and video voice controls. Now, I can use the voice controls and my hands to navigate almost every aspect of the Xbox menu. But I was suddenly saddened to see that the software update also updated the Kinects sensativity. It almost always detects both of my hands, regardless of which is up and moving around, which causes the hand control to stutter in every direction as it struggles to find out which hand I am using. this was kind of a let down, but it may be because I need to either re-calibrate, or brighten up my living room… even though it is rather well lit to begin with.
The voice controls are almost perfect, and I really do mean “almost”. Controlling the dash and what Netflix movie to play is a snap. The only let down here is that you find yourself repeating “show more”, “next list” and so on. We live in a world where our own mobile phones can figure out what we want by speaking it. Why can’t the Xbox do the same when we say something like “Play Dirty Jobs” or “Search Discovery Channel shows”. Instead we are stuck saying “play one” or “play three” when we see the shows in a specific order on the dash.
Now it may seem like I’m complaining a lot here, but I actually love the new layout and improved voice controls, though the motion controls may need a bit more work. I don’t have a Windows 7 phone, but after seeing some live demos I can tell you that the future is rather bright for the new and improved mobile phone OS. For instance, you can control all your movies and shows via the zune controls in your phone, making your own cell phone a smart remote. That is cool enough, but already they want to integrate games from your phone to the big screen in your home. They showed off a demo of Kinectimals on the Windows phone where you can make new pets and play games with them. Once you get home you can then scan a code into your kinect where your new pet will suddenly appear on your TV! Pretty cool stuff, and shows a lot of potential for future phone to console game integration.