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After a short delay Microsoft has finally pushed out a long-awaited update that is set to change the way users use and interact with their Xbox 360 console. The updates run deep but immediately noticeable is the brand new Windows Phone 7-style user interface that bears more than a little resemblance to the new Windows 8 “Metro” design.

The updated UI now organises options into big squares separated by multiple tabs that run along the top of the screen, amongst them a new “Social” option containing Kinect Video Chat, Facebook and Twitter. Kinect owners will be delighted to hear that this new dashboard is fully navigable using Kinect, and even includes Bing voice-activated search (“Xbox. Bing. Query”).

Bing integration only operates locally and via Microsoft’s own channels (such as Game Marketplace) and does not cover the web in general. Xbox Live Gold members will also enjoy a few other additions including a new “Apps” tab which offers different content dependent on region, including new video-on-demand and live streaming services.

Also exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members is cloud storage, allowing users to store save game data on the cloud for peace of mind and easy access. This feature will allow any user to log in on an Internet-enabled console and retrieve their personal save data.

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Last but not least, Windows Phone 7 users can now enjoy greater connectivity between their phone and console. Amongst the features are Xbox Live Achievements for WP7 gamers and the sharing of music between WP7 devices and the 360 and PCs.

According to the launch team, the update is now available to everyone using the service. Microsoft’s Larry Hryb announced via Twitter “The #XboxUpdate is currently on its way to all 35 million Xbox LIVE members around the world“.

Have you downloaded the new Xbox 360 update? Do you like it? Does Kinect and WP7 integration tickle you? Have a say below.

  1. Ryan Jones
    April 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    I have seen other people listening to I Heart Radio App on the Xbox 360. But it does not show up on my Xbox 360. How do i get the app?

    By the way i have done the update because i can go on twiiter and facebook

    • Tim Brookes
      April 22, 2012 at 1:46 am

      I can only assume that this is due to region settings. What region are you in? My console is set to the UK (that's where I bought it) and I don't have access to that app either, just the usuals like Last.fm, YouTube, Netflix etc...

  2. Jay Tee
    January 11, 2012 at 4:06 am

    Having no luck with this new UI.  XboxLive and Netflix haven't functioned correctly for a month now.  It takes forever (or never) for everything to load on the dashboard such as avatars, clicking into the marketplace, looking at download history cache...No luck with xbox supports info on how to deal with all the status codes (error codes).  Do not like.

    • Tim Brookes
      January 23, 2012 at 2:25 am

      Sorry to hear you're having trouble. Have you tried contacting Microsoft? I'm sure if there's a problem they will try and help you out, especially if you're a gold member as you pay for that service and thus should be provided adequate support.

      Here's the support page for the UK: http://support.xbox.com/en-GB/contact-us?xr=footnav

      I assume for the US you'd replace GB with US, Australia GB with AU etc... or just try visiting Xbox.com, Support and then Contact Us at the bottom. 

      Good luck.

  3. Shermanation1
    December 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    It's pretty clean, smooth interface and it's easy to use. Finding Indie games (as commented on is not difficult, you just need to search in a different way--i.e.: search all indie games, then classify by genre). Kinect integration is awesome, Current apps like ESPN, NETFLIX, Today, Windows Media Center & Hulu are nice and all the new upcoming apps like YouTube viewer with search, SyFy, HBO GO, TMZ, MSNBC, I heart Radio, Daily Motion, Crackle, UFC, Veriozon FiOS, VEVO, Vudu, MLB.tv, and xfinity look to be the perfect add to make xbox the ultimate entertainment centerpiece of any home.

  4. Trevor Lenten
    December 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I really like the kinect integration but they really screwed up the games marketplace, it's an absolute nightmare to find indie or arcade games other then the "featured" titles. 

  5. Matt.Smith
    December 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Something I don't like about this update is that Microsoft included a no-class-action clause in the US. 

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