Xbox One is getting Cortana soon

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 6, 2016

Microsoft’s personal digital assistant Cortana is coming to the Xbox One console with an forthcoming software update for the console, the Windows giant revealed this morning. Cortona is currently available on Windows as an integrated feature and on iOS and Android devices as a standalone app.

Cortana for Xbox One will let players find new games, see what their friends are doing, start a party, perform common tasks and even turn on the console with their voice. Read More


Microsoft said to be considering smaller Xbox to compete with Apple TV

By Cody Lee on Dec 30, 2015

Microsoft is said to be once again looking to create a device that would go head-to-head with the Apple TV and similar products. Citing internal sources, veteran blogger Brad Sams reports (via Business Insider) that the company is considering plans for a “lightweight Xbox One.”

The smaller console would feature access to a variety of streaming services, and be capable of playing games from Microsoft’s Windows store. Sams believes the device, if it materializes, will launch in the second half of 2016 with a much lower price point than existing Xbox models. Read More


Xbox One SmartGlass app now lets you record game clips and more

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 28, 2014

Less than two weeks following an update which has enabled Xbox One owners to install games on their console remotely, using their iOS device, the Windows giant Microsoft today pushed another update adding nearly a dozen cool new features.

For starters, the free iPhone and iPad application now allows you to record game clips remotely, too.

And in a series of social improvements, the app now lets players share and post activity feed items and post status updates to their activity feed, as well as browse through their activity feed directly on their profile page. Read More


Xbox One SmartGlass now lets you install Xbox games remotely, live TV streaming due soon

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 18, 2014

Software giant Microsoft today pushed a nice little update to its Xbox One companion app for the iPhone and iPad, SmartGlass.

Version 2.8 is now available in the App Store, providing a handy new feature letting you buy and install Xbox games and other content remotely, from your iOS device.

Moreover, the application now supports in-app browsing of new and popular games, add-ons and bundles.

You can even rate your favorite Xbox game clips and activity feed entries, as well as view shared Activity Feed and Game Clips — all within the app. And in a future SmartGlass update due later this year, Microsoft will add ability to stream live TV locally to your iPhone or iPad… Read More


Xbox One SmartGlass app is now your universal remote for TV and cable boxes

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 4, 2014

Microsoft’s Xbox One companion app, SmartGlass, has been bumped to version 2.5 earlier today, bringing out a handful of new features that improve your living room experience and interactions with the console itself.

Most importantly, the app now features a remote control functionality similar to Apple’s free Remote software. But as Microsoft’s console lets you hook up a cable or satellite box to it, you can now basically channel surf from across the room using your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

The update is now live in the App Store and I have a full list of features for your right after the break… Read More


Skype makes group video calling free on OS X, Windows and Xbox One, coming soon to iOS

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 28, 2014

One-on-one video calls have always been free on Skype and now the Microsoft-owned communication platform is making the group video calling feature, unveiled in 2010, available free of charge to desktop users running OS X or Microsoft Windows, with no expiration date, as well as to owners of the Xbox One console which has Skype deeply integrated.

Up until now, group video calling used to be limited to Skype’s Premium users on Windows desktop and Mac, which costs $4.99 for a day pass or $8.99 per month. Microsoft has said it will make the feature free on all platforms “in the future”Read More


Microsoft to make it easier to add Xbox Live functionality to iOS games

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 3, 2014

Software maker Microsoft last November released its companion free SmartGlass app on the App Store, giving Xbox One owners a way to connect to their console to browse the web, navigate the dashboard control content, access achievements and more, all from their iPhone and iPad devices.

But Microsoft isn’t standing still.

According to a new report by The Verge, the Redmond giant is now looking to push the Xbox Live service cross-platform “in a big way” soon. For months now, Microsoft has been offering tools allowing third-party iOS and Android developers to integrate Xbox Live functionality into their apps and games.

But as games developers balked at Microsoft’s required certification process, the company is now looking to “win back” their support by making Xbox Live “a lot easier” to integrate into apps and games… Read More


YouTube’s iOS app can send videos to Xbox One

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 21, 2013

Google’s recent tightening of YouTube restrictions in respect to third-party clients has not sat well with Microsoft, whose unofficial YouTube client for Windows Phone is barebones again – as in, it’s been reduced to an icon which launches into the mobile YouTube interface at Remarkably enough, the Xbox One console is a different story.

The Redmond-based Windows giant announced yesterday that the Xbox One will include YouTube when it launches tomorrow, Friday 22. It will be an actual app, not a glorified web page and it seems Apple users will be able to send videos from YouTube for iPhone and iPad directly to the console… Read More


Microsoft releases new ‘Xbox One SmartGlass’ app for iOS

By Cody Lee on Nov 19, 2013

Ahead of its big Xbox One launch later this week, Microsoft has released a new companion app for the console called ‘Xbox One SmartGlass.’ Microsoft says it’s “the perfect companion app for your Xbox One, both in your living room and on the go.”

In the living room, the app will allow your iOS device to connect to your Xbox One console and do things like browse the web, navigate the dashboard, and control content. And on the go, the app will let you track achievements, messages and more… Read More


Microsoft’s Xbox Music app now available in the App Store

By Cody Lee on Sep 9, 2013

Music fans can now add another streaming music service to their list of options on iOS. Microsoft quietly released an official app for its Xbox Music platform this weekend, which allows users to stream music to their iPhone or iPod.

The app features ad-free streaming from Microsoft’s stout catalog of over 10 million songs, with the ability to create custom stations and playlists. And of course, you can then sync those playlists with other Xbox Music-capable devices… Read More


Vevo wants to become the next MTV, launches always-on broadcast channel

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 12, 2013

Today at SXSW, Vevo announced a 24/7 channel coming to your traditional television via the Roku set-top box and the Xbox gaming console, but also to the Vevo web site and mobile platforms like Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows Phone. As you know, Vevo streams official music videos licensed from record labels, both through its web site and via a dedicated YouTube channel, where most of its 52 million monthly uniques come from.

Vevo’s mobile apps will be updated with an around-the-clock curated experience of original programming, including live concerts and television shows. The experience is being described as multicast, meaning everyone gets to watch the same programming at the exact same time, regardless of the platform they’re accessing it from. Vevo TV will even feature a 24-hour schedule of static programming blocks, just like your regular dumb-ified tube… Read More


IllumiRoom from Microsoft Research gives ‘immersive gaming’ a whole new meaning

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 14, 2013

Here’s a killer concept I’d love to have installed in my living room. Courtesy of Microsoft Research comes this enhanced gaming experience that projects images beyond a television set, basically turning your entire living room into a video game. I know this is just a concept, but keep in mind that the popular Kinect motion sensing input device also started out as an idea in Microsoft’s R&D lab.

What you’re seeing in this clip is the real deal – no special effects were added in post processing or anything like that. Microsoft isn’t saying when (or if, for that matter) the IllumiRoom project might get incorporated into a next-gen Xbox with Kinect. For now, it’s just a a proof-of-concept system, but we wouldn’t rule out the possibility of having something akin to this implemented on the Xbox console… Read More


Microsoft beats out Apple and others to acquire R2 Studios

By Cody Lee on Jan 2, 2013

Last month, word got out that a number of high-profile companies were in possible acquisition talks with the mysterious home automation startup R2 Studios. This included the likes of Microsoft, Google, and yes, even Apple.

Well it looks like Microsoft won the day, as a new report this evening claims that the Redmond company will be the one purchasing the popular startup to help beef up its Xbox unit and increase its living room presence… Read More


Microsoft recaps its ‘milestones’ in 2012

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 17, 2012

Microsoft, once the mighty Apple archival, in ways more than one is now directly or indirectly supporting Apple’s war on Android. With that in mind, let’s check out Microsoft’s recap video highlighting its milestones in 2012, one for each month. I’d call only two Microsoft products milestones: Halo 4, which raked in $220 million in sales in the first 24 hours, and the Xbox console with Kinect, which got Windows support in February.

As much as I like Windows Phone’s originality, it’s failed to make a dent and clings to a single-digit market share. The Surface is a flop (even the CEO agrees) and major software launches like Windows 8 and server products have not met the management’s internal expectations. Besides, Apple’s iPhone biz recently became worth more than all of Microsoft. How’s that for a milestone? Read More


How Bluetooth can make Apple TV more than a ‘hobby’ device

By Ed Sutherland on Dec 11, 2012

News that the Apple TV software will support Bluetooth could make the streaming device largely viewed as a “hobby” into something more. Much more. More than simply replacing the Apple remote with a keyboard, the new software potentially does for video what the iPhone did for grainy phone snaps.

While speculation is rampant (and likely quiet wrong) about when Cupertino will enter the television business, the Apple TV box is a gold mine just gathering dust, here’s why… Read More


Rumor: Microsoft’s Apple TV-killer is called Xbox TV, coming in 2013

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 21, 2012

I see a pattern emerging here. Apple comes up with the iPad and Microsoft launches the Surface. Then, Apple makes the iPad mini while Microsoft is allegedly readying a gadget code-named Xbox Surface, basically a seven-inch Surface tablet focused on gaming. And now, word on the street is that Redmond is working on its own set-top box to take on the Apple TV and others in the living room space. Aptly named Xbox TV, it’s aimed at casual gamers and regular couch potatoes… Read More


Xbox SmartGlass app now available on iOS

By Cody Lee on Nov 7, 2012

Last year, Microsoft released an Xbox companion app on iOS that allowed you to access your Xbox LIVE account, chat with friends and customize your avatar. It later added movie playback controls.

But if you thought that was cool, wait until you see this. Microsoft has renamed the iOS app to Xbox SmartGlass, and has given it a laundry list of new features. And it’s now available in the App Store… Read More


Microsoft working on a 7-inch Xbox Surface tablet focused on gaming

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 6, 2012

This is really interesting. Hot on the heels of launching its full-sized Surface tablet to a mixed market response, Microsoft is thought to now have their sights set on the smaller form-factor tablet space, currently dominated by seven-inchers from Google and Amazon, in addition to Apple’s iPad mini that launched last month. Microsoft’s secret project for a mini Xbox, it’s been said, involves a custom-built ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM designed specifically for gaming tasks… Read More


Microsoft plays down Apple TV numbers as Apple’s Cook disses gaming consoles

By Christian Zibreg on May 30, 2012

Tim Cook shared a pretty interesting data point at yesterday’s D10: All Things Digital conference. He said Apple sold 2.8 million units of the $99 set-top box in 2012 so far, nearly matching sales for the whole of 2011.

Cook argued that 1080p hardware upgrade and greater content availability on iTunes helped drive sales. Microsoft was keen on pointing out that Apple TV numbers pale in comparison to its Xbox 360 console… Read More


Former Zune exec: music biz was “hooked on the drug” Apple was supplying

By Christian Zibreg on May 12, 2012

Robbie Bach, a former Microsoft executive who led the company’s devices and entertainment division, yesterday shared some surprisingly frank observations on Apple, the iPod business and Apple’s “incredible” execution that, under the guidance of late co-founder Steve Jobs, saw it rise to become the world’s most-valued corporation… Read More