The Xbox One was the subject of many blog posts yesterday. Microsoft introduced the One at a major press conference, so you can expect to see a lot about the new device for the next week or so. The One is, technically, a gaming console. But, Microsoft is doing something entirely different here too.
You see, Microsoft doesn't want the Xbox One to simply be your gaming console of choice. Microsoft wants the One to be the only living room command center you have in your home. Sound like a pretty tall order? It might be. The One could fail miserably. Or, it might give Apple a serious run for its money.
The One's TV Capabilities
If you use Apple TV, you know how amazing this device is. Countless times, I've used Apple TV to order up a TV show that I missed (and wasn't recorded) or to watch movies now that every video store in my town has gone out of business. The whole setup is great, easy, and perfect. So, how could Microsoft possible compete with what Apple TV has to offer?
A lot of it has to do with voice command. Microsoft has been playing with voice for some time, but the One takes it to a new level. During yesterday's demonstration, a Microsoft rep told the console to "watch ESPN," and the console simply flipped to that channel -- even though the presenter did not know the channel number. No remote needed. No scrolling needed. Just voice. That's not all.
The One's Gesture Controls
The Xbox One also responds to gesture controls. Snatch, pinch, or scroll using your hands, and the One will match your movements. How amazing is that? It is amazing, but demonstrations during press conferences are one thing. Actually using a device like the One in your own home might be another.
If you've messed around with voice controlled remotes, phones, and other systems, you know that these devices don't always work as promised. So, how well will the One work? Further, how much of Apple's TV market will Microsoft snag (it's fully connected)?
Switching to the Xbox One
I'm not certain that non-gamers will purchase a Xbox One simply to gain living room connectivity. After all, this is first and foremost a gaming console. If you don't game, you'll just have a large gaming console taking up space. Granted, it might be a console that you can control with gestures and voice, but how effective those features are remains to be seen. The other question might be: will you switch from Apple TV to Xbox One?
Some drawbacks appear right away. First of all, the design of the One isn't the best (it's somewhat bulky). Secondly, outside of the USA, the console's voice TV Guide feature might not be so great. Lastly, voice control tends to be rather gimmicky, and no company has really perfected it yet.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Microsoft succeeds in taking over your living room, though. Microsoft has stated that the device will ship by the end of the year, so cross your fingers and wait!