Microsoft announces new Xbox One with live TV guide, media multitasking and Skype group video chats

Written on:May 21, 2013
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Microsoft announced its new Xbox called Xbox One at a press event in Redmond, Wash. Tuesday that puts a heavy emphasis on TV and living room entertainment with a heavy focus on live TV. Don Mattrick, President of Interactive Entertainment at Microsoft, called the new device an “all in one home entertainment system.”

The new device will offer direct access to live TV, which users can start with a simple voice command. The console can switch between games, music, live TV and apps through voice commands as well as through new, universal gestures. For example, to leave a full-screen live TV experience users kind of grab with both hands in thin air and then pull these hands together.

There is also a so-called snap mode will overlay an app over live TV to allow side-by-side multitasking. One of the apps taking advantage of this is Microsoft’s Skype, which will offer group video calls on the TV – something that isn’t possible with any other TV-based Skype integration, according to Yusuf Mehdi, SVP of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business. Users can watch a movie and launch a Skype call while the movie continues.

Hardware-wise, the new device didn’t offer that many surprises: The Xbox One utilizes 8 GB RAM and an x86 processor. It comes with a Blu-ray drive, and uses WiFi Direct and USB 3 as well as a completely redesigned Kinect sensor device. That’s in line with earlier leaks, which had already pointed to the two HDMI ports, as well as Microsoft using a more PC-like architecture, with an AMD x86-processor powering the device.

Developing story, check back for updates.

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