What About Xbox Smartglass?

English: Microsoft XBOX 360 Kinect Sensor. Vid...

English: Microsoft XBOX 360 Kinect Sensor. Video Kinect: Make live video chats with your Xbox LIVE users under the Standard kinect camera. Video Kinect (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just like you, I’m just hearing about Xbox Smartglass.  Microsoft promises to change how you watch your media, play video games, and surf the web evermore with Xbox Smartglass.  From watching the YouTube video which had been uploaded by YouTube user, WMPowerUser, it appears that Xbox Smartglass allows users to push media from a mobile device, whether that be an Android or iPhone or iPad or Windows Phone, onto the living room TV which connects to an Xbox 360.  This means you can watch whatever on your mobile device halfway and then push the media onto the TV which resides in your living room so you can finish watching or playing the rest of the media.  It’s unclear that users will be able to do this for movies and songs only, because if users can also push video games, web browsing materials, and much more from one device onto another using Xbox Smartglass, it will be truly awesome as users get to be evermore immersive with their media through the devices that they’ve already owned and loved.

The genius of Xbox Smartglass is a step beyond Kinect.  It does not require users to buy specific device to make it works, because Xbox Smartglass is an application which will be released by Microsoft for many popular devices that people might have already owned.  Nonetheless, the combination of Xbox Smartglass and Kinect is truly remarkable as it allows users to be able to use not only their mobile devices as the coolest remote controls but in conjunction with Kinect they can also rely on their other human sensors such as hand gesture and voice to fully satisfy how one would go about communicating with their media devices.  Xbox 360 combines Kinect and Smartglass to allow users to be able to surf the web on their TV like never before, because mobile devices will be able to control the web surfing activity on the TV and Kinect will allow users to use voice and gesture to navigate the web even further.  Obviously though, without Xbox 360 neatly dictates the wishes and wants from the mobile devices and the TVs, there won’t be the amazing feat of expanding the media experience.  Even the Kinect itself is just an accessory to Xbox 360.

Perhaps, the next generation of Xbox video game console might make the living room media experience even better than what we have seen so far with Xbox 360.  One thing though, I dislike how I’ve to pay an annual fee for Xbox Live so I can stream Netflix videos and other similar streaming contents.  After all, I’m already a Netflix subscriber, why would I want to go pay Microsoft for something that I already have a subscription to?  In fact, I can just hook my PC or PS3 to a TV and get to watch Netflix for free!  I think Xbox Live is a big mistake, because it’s something that might make users who do not like the idea of having too many annual fee this and that on the top of other monthly fees from various media services.  When adding all the monthly and annual fees up, users will see that each year their media pleasure might be rather expensive than they would have thought!!!  I think Microsoft might be able to convince more people to adopt Xbox 360 and future Xbox console iterations in the living room by letting go the Xbox Live annual fee.

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Just A So So Experience With Controlling Xbox Through Voice

After the new Xbox Dashboard update for Xbox yesterday, I’m now able to control Xbox with voice in a more extensive way.  Still, I think when I’m talking to Xbox, it does feel as if I’m talking to a stupid robot!  Sometimes, I have to repeat my commands.  At other times, I have to figure out what to say first before Xbox could wake up and understand me.  Often times, I have to make sure there is a black panel on the bottom of the screen of the dashboard, because without it, there won’t be a small microphone icon and I won’t be able to talk to Xbox.  I also notice there are windows within Xbox Live, I often stumble upon, require me to use my controller still.

I think Microsoft has released a better Xbox Dashboard, but I’m not impressed.  Sure, the new Xbox Dashboard is way better than the old one, but voice controller is somewhat iffy still that I prefer the use of the controller.  If I’m not wrong, Microsoft should be hard at work in improving the intelligence behind the technology which allows Kinect and Xbox to be able to process the words that come out from the mouth of any human.  If Microsoft isn’t, then I think Xbox will eventually lose luster and play catch up to something else that does it better in respect to voice intelligence.

I think voice intelligence that is able to understand the words that come out of the mouth of any human in natural way will be very popular and useful in many ways in the future.  One example would be telling a device to search for something on the Internet.  OK, sure, Xbox is now allowing users/gamers use voice commands and demand Bing to search for something, but I’ve found out that it’s rather hard to do so.  Either I’m clueless how Xbox Bing should work, because for the life of me I could not ask Xbox Bing to search for what I want.  Correct me if I’m wrong, perhaps Xbox Bing is only searching for games, music, videos, movies, and whatever else that is available on Xbox Live and console.  If this is the case, then Xbox Bing isn’t yet capable in searching the entire Internet as how Bing normally does through a web browser.

Shutting down Xbox through voice is fun if you know how to; the correct way is by saying “Xbox Go Home, Settings, Turn Off , Yes.”  This is why Microsoft definitely needs to make Xbox understands longer phrases in natural way and not through specific commands.  Nonetheless, it’s easier now for Xbox users/gamers to control Xbox through voice than before.

In summary, it’s now possible for Xbox users/gamers to play movies, music, games, and do other things with voice commands.  Before, Xbox users/gamers could only command Xbox through voice in a more limited way.  Still, Xbox voice intelligence leaves much to be improved, because it’s not natural for users/gamers to remember specific commands and reading what could be read inside Xbox Dashboard and other sections inside Xbox Live.  It’s much better if users/gamers can just speak naturally to Xbox.  Xbox isn’t Siri, but don’t we wish Xbox is capable as Siri?  How about even better, I think Xbox should be able to talk back to Xbox users/gamers in a natural way.

Microsoft Releases New Xbox Live Tomorrow, Promises Better Voice Control, New Features, And More Contents

Tech and gaming communities are buzzing with excitements on Microsoft Xbox Live’s new update which will be released by tomorrow.  It is being reported that Microsoft’s new Xbox Live will have enhanced voice control, Bing integration, mobile app for Windows Phone to act as enhanced remote control, and new contents.  It sounds great and all, but I think there is a but for me.

The but is about how Xbox users have to pay $60 annual fee for Gold Membership.  Without Gold Membership, Xbox users cannot even watch Netflix which they have already paid for anyhow.  Playstation 3 is different in this regard as in how Playstation users can watch Netflix through Playstation 3 without needing to pay anything.  In the end, as I do not care to purchase or waste a $60 for a Gold Membership, I think Xbox users who are in the same boat as me will excite little over the new Xbox Live.

Remember, even right after you pay for $60 Gold Membership, you still have to pay for Netflix, Hulu Plus, Verizon FiOS, and others before you can actually get to enjoy the contents.  The reasons for people to cut TV cord is not that they only want TV on demand, but they are interested in cost cutting, enjoying better TV experience, and then cost cutting.  I think Xbox Live has to rethink on how to help Xbox users save costs without sacrificing great contents, otherwise I think just subscribing to one awesome service such as Netlfix and stream it over computers will be just as great.

Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/05/microsofts-xbox-update-voice-control_n_1129104.html

This Holiday Season, Microsoft’s Xbox Live “Metro” Attracts Users With Kinect, Bing, Live TV Show, And Video On Demand Deep Integrations

Gizmodo reports that Microsoft’s Xbox Live “Metro” will go live when this holiday season comes around.  It seems that Xbox Live “Metro” users will be able to use their Xbox 360 consoles as Cable and Video on Demand boxes.  Folks at Microsoft are suggesting that they are talking to more content providers so Xbox 360 users will be able to experience more contents such as live TV shows and movies.  Upon improving contents, Microsoft enhances Kinect features within Xbox Live “Metro” to allow users to control almost all aspects of Xbox 360 with voice recognition and hand gestures.  Bing will also integrate tightly with Kinect features within Xbox Live “Metro” so users can use voice recognition to search for things.

New features that Microsoft will release for Xbox Live “Metro” are definitely going to be awesome for Xbox users.  I totally vote for them!  Nonetheless, I think Microsoft has a narrow vision.  Why?  Besides Xbox 360, shouldn’t Microsoft allow users to experience live TV shows and Video on Demand and Kinect capabilities on Windows 7 or 8 and Windows Phone 7?  Unfortunately, I think Microsoft prefers to sell more Xbox 360 consoles at the same time they generating revenues from contents that Xbox Live “Metro” provides.  Whether that be more profitable or otherwise, I’ve no idea.  Still, I think more users will appreciate Microsoft if they provide such experiences on not one but more platforms.  I also think Microsoft will be able to sell more products such as Windows 8 OS if awesome features on Xbox Live “Metro” become available in Windows 8 and other Microsoft’s products/platforms.

If such vision is going to be realized, I think Microsoft needs to tightly synch the Xbox Live “Metro” features across products’ ecosystem.  For an instance, a user watched halfway of a movie on Xbox 360 console, but he got on his Windows 8 laptop to work and yet was able to watch the rest of the movie that he had watched on the Xbox 360 console earlier.  More features like that will make Microsoft’s product ecosystem seems coherent, enhancing the overall user experiences.  What do you think?

Source:  http://gizmodo.com/5838741/xbox-live-metro-brings-more-bing-kinect-and-cable-tv-integration-to-the-holidays