Redmond (WA) – As Microsoft continues its efforts to develop Windows Live Anywhere into a ubiquitous communications platform – at least, within Microsoft’s known universe – Xbox Live took some bold steps in that general direction today, with the release today of a seasonal firmware update that packs some firmware upgrades that will have gamers clamoring for their consoles.
A majority of the 125 updates Microsoft listed this morning are of the user interface improvement variety (the kind you wish could be made each season to Windows XP), including replacing more confusing console buttons with simpler buttons during system functions. But foremost on Microsoft’s list is an improved Download Manager, the nature of whose improvements will give you an idea of where Microsoft is going. You can now download up to six queued items simultaneously, all with a musical track playing in the background instead of having the system go silent. The capability for the Xbox console to obtain many things will be key to the Windows Live Anywhere experience, which the company says will open up a marketplace for multimedia across PCs, Xbox consoles, and cell phones.
Bloggers today are also touting the new “Boot to Dashboard” option, which enables gamers to bypass any disc that happens to be in the drive at the time, and boot the console to the Dashboard without removing the disc first. Here, things happening simultaneously also plays a role: If the gamer is listening to music while playing a game, then he switches games or switches to the Dashboard, the music no longer stops. Also, if an Xbox user is watching a DVD video, then switches to a game, and then switches back to the video, the video will pick up at the frame where it left off.
Picture in your mind a plethora of Microsoft users happy to partake in a long-awaited, much-welcomed system upgrade. Refreshing, isn’t it? The Spring Update is available for download through Xbox Live.