Xbox 360 Dashboard Getting Updated (Again)

While for many Xbox users it only seems like just yesterday that the New Xbox Experience dashboard update was released, followed recently by another update for the release of the Kinect. Now, in preparation for the new Xbox Live features announced this past E3, Microsoft will be releasing yet another stylish new update.

The new update, pictured below, will be launching this fall with faster content browsing and faster navigation with Kinect-enabled speech commands. The improvements are aimed at making the dashboard easier for users to browse with the ever-expanding library of content on Xbox Live, including live sporting events from ESPN and Youtube, later this year.

“It’s about making the content easier to get to and more discoverable,” said Albert Penello, director of platform marketing. “This is as big a change to the dashboard as NXE was and it sets a foundation for the future.”

The New, New Xbox Experience

The content is now divided into tiles (falling right in line with Windows Phone 7 style) that are designed to be larger and easier to grab while using the Kinect. The main menu sits at the top of the screen, divided into general categories such as Social, Games, and Music, which can all be easily accessed with voice commands, which Penello says have seen significant improvement in the new update.

Observant readers will notice that one of the menu categories is Bing: Microsoft has decided to integrate Bing search with the content of XBL, so users can finally enter a search term like "potato" and see everything potato-related on Live.

Overall, it's clear that Microsoft is making a push for some continuity between its platforms (Xbox, WP7, and soon, Windows 8), possibly with some integration coming along with it. Given that Xbox 360 owners now spend a large part of their time watching TV and video on the Xbox, with Netflix in particular dominating the online time of a lot of users, the improved speed and ease-of-access will be much appreciated.

Eager Xbox users will get a chance to experience the new dashboard when beta testing starts this October.