What You Need To Know: The Xbox 360 Dashboard Update 2011

File-It-Under: Gaming Entertainment!~
By: D.F.Skinner!~




I just got my Xbox 360 Live Update freshly downloaded this morning,I'm always anxious to see what new improved features will come to dashboard.Every year of course Microsoft brings about added features to Xbox Live,in the opinion of many the best online entertainment coming out of a gaming console.

From what I gather,Microsoft pretty much stuck with the concept from last years update,the biggest noticeable change is its design interface,Microsoft has gone with the Metro makeover to its dashboard,Metro tile interface is the staple platform with all of Microsoft's software,Windows 8 mobile and the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

There are several key features within Xbox 360 Dashboard 2011,which have of course aroused me with an abundance of impression that needs to be examine.

Interface Gone Metro


Like all of Microsoft's products,the Xbox 360 Dashboard has morphed into a Metro style tile layout.I for one love the Metro interface because it is very simple to navigate when sifting through the consoles various channels within Xbox live.If you look closely,you'll notice there is no NXE cross bar present which is used for simplified navigation,instead,Microsoft decided to go with a more horizontally oriented experience.

Look at the top of the dashboard,notice the channels are now at the top of the screen,which still has the ever so familiar 'games",'music", and "video" that's between Bings search feature.Few of these channels has gone through some renaming starting with what use to be "My Xbox" is now Home,"Friends" is now social,a familiarity to one being the Zune.

Also impressive is how sifting through each channel leads to a list of subcategories,for an example,click on social down drops a list subcategories,friends and social Apps.

TV integration and Apps


A new set of designs have been pinned to apps like Netflix,Hulu Plus and Dailymotion,all have a new Metro layout face lift.Let us focus on the new and improve Netflix app which still has kept its vertical list,but notice how the previews are listed in a horizontal fashion which at the same time scrolls a cascade of film covers.Highlight each movie on Netflix you get a brief summary of the movie along with a star rating from other viewers.Then there's the TV integration,which is still some what in the Beta stage it seems,just like Hulu,Netflix and Last.fm,TV on the Xbox its app based,the majority of the TV's offerings will be made  available to subscribers only.

The Cloud


All major players in the tech industry are taking stabs at cloud base technology,from Amazon to Apple,so it was only a matter of time before we start to see Microsoft institute the cloud in one of their technologies.Xbox 360 live will get a taste of the cloud,I mean makes sense to offer gamer's another storage alternative,other than using the consoles built-in hard drive.If you are wondering how this all operates pertaining to saving your data or games it basically allows you to store all of your content when going between different model Xbox 360's(the Xbox Slim for an example).The Xbox's cloud storage feature can only be activated through the consoles settings before you can begin using this feature.

One of the benefiting factors in using the cloud on the Xbox 360 is the ability easily save all of your content without the need of always carrying your memory card,the system offers 511MB cloud space by default.

The Bing


Yes there is search within the Xbox 360 dashboard,the Bing search that is,but hold on now,its not the same as the search engine on your desktop computers web browser,I mean you won't be searching for the cheapest airline tickets for next trip to Disney World.The Bing is built purely for the Xbox 360 infrastructure,and will only sift through Xbox Live content.Microsoft has developed a huge marketplace,so it would make sense to have Bing search in dashboard.When I typed in my favorite rap artist in Bing,boom there it was,looking for games like Halo or Iron-man cartoon video,there it was.Bing brings about organization to a crowded marketplace.

Thoughts


Xbox 360 dashboard easily trumps the PSN as far as having a multitude of entertainment at your finger tips even without the upgrade.What Xbox 360 dashboard 2011 upgrade has done was make it very easy for you to navigate around Xbox Live,especially with the new Metro tile interface.Other noted features that I found impressive is the Kinect infused with your Bing,using voice control search,since I don't have the Kinect at my disposal,I can't give the feature a test run.The Xbox 360 dashboard 2011,arguably the best entertainment emporium in a gaming console.