PRLog - Nov. 22, 2012 - SAN DIEGO -- Microsoft’s future focus is pretty clear if you ask me. The company is all about a new universal approach with their product offerings. Whether you are on a phone, tablet, PC or game system– the experience should work and feel familiar. Honestly though, it goes deeper than that.
With Windows Phone 8 arriving with the NT core used in Windows 8, the mobile and desktop/tablet OS share even more in common. The reason for this shift is to make this universal approach appeal to more than just consumers. Even developers will soon find that all Microsoft products are quite easy to port back and forth to and write for.
Microsoft’ Xbox is likely included in this vision. I wouldn’t be even slightly shocked if the next Xbox features the NT core and has an app store that allows easy conversion of existing Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 apps.
We’ve already seen Microsoft attempt to bring the Xbox experience closer to their new modern approach with the Metro-like UI update. Now a second update rolls out today, bringing Xbox 360 even closer to the new Windows/modern experience.
What arrives with this change? Internet Explorer, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, improved search, new personalization options and a heck of a lot more. This is a global update and will make its way to all Xbox 360 markets within the next few weeks.
Not only is the UI even closer this time, so is the capabilities. Having Xbox Music on all Windows devices is a great move and could finally give Microsoft the edge it needs to knock down existing music giants like Apple with their iTunes.
Microsoft’s Future is Quickly Starting to Be Realized
I wasn’t so sure about Windows 8 before. Why force change on users? Obviously, change for change itself is never a good idea. Microsoft’s strategy was instead about change in order to lay out a more unified future that makes development and operation experiences simple to pick up no matter what Microsoft-based device you are talking about.
This is part of Microsoft’s claim that they aren’t a software company, they are a software, services and hardware provider. What’s next? While the Xbox 360 will likely not see any more dramatic changes like the switch to an NT core, I think it is in card for the Xbox line.
I’d also not be surprised to see a full “Store” experience with productivity and entertainment apps. Sure, this somewhat-exists on Xbox now, but imagine having the same kind of apps you find in Windows 8 and Phone 8 on the big screen.
Microsoft’s future still has a lot of questions unanswered, but the puzzle pieces are coming together. What do you think of the new changes heading to the 360?
What makes a tablet successful? Productivity?
That being said, they need to give consumers reasons to consider the Surface and other Microsoft Windows 8/RT devices. Having Office and other productivity capabilities is a good start. The existence of full USB and the potential to use tons of existing accessories also helps.
That being said, Microsoft can’t just focus on productivity. Their multimedia efforts need to be solid as well.
We’ve already seen Microsoft’s Xbox Music service, and that’s a good start. What else can they do? They need the latest and most popular entertainment and television apps. Good news- Microsoft already has this lined up. They have already released a Netflix app. Now we have Hulu coming in a few days.
The new app is very metro-themed and will even come pre-loaded on many tablets including Sony and Acer devices. Hulu says that the new app “presents you with an immersive panorama of your favorite shows and episodes laid out in a wide canvas.”
Scrolling, using the menu and doing everything you’d normally do in the web browser version is supposed to be much more intuitive here. The only bad news (though not surprising) is that this is a Hulu Plus only app, no free accounts will work here.
So what does having Hulu and Netflix mean for Microsoft? It opens the door for many consumers. Sure, most of us want 100,000+ apps, but there are only a handful of apps that are absolute dealbreakers that you better have or else we won’t even consider your platform – Hulu and Netflix are on that list.
I have said more than once that Microsoft doesn’t need to have millions of apps on launch day, just the best ones around. So far they seem to be doing exactly that, which is an encouraging sign.
Now we just need Windows Phone 8 to get the app as well. Considering how very similar it is to develop apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, this is actually not all that unlikely. Windows Phone users have had Netflix for a very long time, but having access to Hulu could be a very big deal.
What do you think about Hulu and Netflix coming to Windows 8? Do you hope the release of Hulu for Windows 8 means a Windows Phone 8 version is also in the works?
Note: New game features will be available at the launch of Windows 8. Support for ARM devices coming soon! Microsoft Mahjong is the classic matching game updated with beautiful imagery, intuitive controls, and all the features that fans of mahjong have come to expect. Enjoy gorgeous graphics and relaxing sounds with three different themes to choose from. Complete multiple puzzles at three levels of difficulty—perfect for mahjong beginners and experts alike. With an improved Undo system, players have the option of rewinding to fix mistakes.
Three different themes with unique scenery and tiles.
Three difficulty settings – perfect for beginners and long-time fans alike.
Dynamic Undo system – rewind past moves for relaxing, stress-free play.
Improved graphics and beautiful sound.
Xbox LIVE enabled!
Supports touch screen or mouse/keyboard controls.
Link to: Microsoft Mahjong
Category: Games > Puzzles
Age Rating: Everyone
Developer: Microsoft Studios