PRLog - Nov. 23, 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.
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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?
I have always been a fan of the Zune ecosystem, even if it never really caught on. In particular, I loved its media store and streaming services in the later part of its life. That being said, Xbox Music seems to be taking everything I love and pushing it in the right direction.
While I’d still like to see a Microsoft-branded media player, it probably isn’t necessary in today’s world where most of us have our music library loaded onto our phones.
We knew Microsoft Xbox Music was coming soon, an now it has launched. This post covers a few last minute details about what to expect. It has been confirmed that the service will exist only on Windows devices and the Xbox 360– at first. Eventually it could roll-out to other competing mobile platforms or even to TVs and radios. You have to start somewhere, though.
Xbox Music – Free Streaming for All
Microsoft Xbox Music is becoming all the more exciting: it offers free streaming. While it isn’t the only service to do this, I always liked Microsoft’s selection during the Zune Pass days and wouldn’t mind returning as a customer.
Like most other streaming services, the free version is ad-supported and has other limits in place such as how many songs you can play at once, how many you can skip, etc. Still, it is free music streaming- hard to complain.
For those that want the full experience, it will cost just $10 per month. This included all-you-can-
Can Xbox Music compete against iTunes?
With Apple hoping to get its own Pandora-like service sometime in the near-future and its existing firm grasp on the music ecosystem, does Xbox Music stand a real chance? Honestly, it really depends a lot on the success of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
If there aren’t any tablet or phone users utilizing Microsoft Windows 8, the customer base will be very small and it won’t stand a chance. If Windows 8 on mobile is successful, consumers might decide to ditch iTunes on their PC as well, in favor of a more universal experience on all their devices.
I used to love iTunes but I got sick of their less-than-awesome UI and made a switch to streaming, since I listen to 90% of my music on my PC or streamed through Spotify onto my smartphone. I like the new UI with Xbox Music and truly think I’ve found something that might make me switch away from Spotify.
What do you think, do you like Xbox Music or not?