Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox One Tuesday, displaying a device that takes new steps in game consoles' journey to becoming all-purpose entertainment and communication devices. The new console replaces the Xbox 360, which has been on the market for nearly eight years.
One of the new device's most striking features is the ability to run multiple apps at once — and to split a TV screen into different tasks. That means Xbox One owners will be able to watch live TV, while taking part in a Skype video chat, or surfing the web. And many of those tasks can be accomplished by using either hand gestures or voice commands.
Many details emerged in a rush about the new console, which has 8 gigabytes of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive, after Microsoft executive Don Mattrick unveiled the Xbox One in Redmond, Wash., Tuesday.
But Microsoft has not provided two other tidbits of information: when the Xbox One will launch, and how much it will cost. More information is expected next month. For now, here's a selection of features noted around the web:
- "The Xbox One simultaneously runs three separate operating systems," reports Wired. "First comes the tiny Host OS, which boots the machine and then launches two other hard-partitioned systems: the Shared partition, an environment that runs any apps (Skype, Live TV, Netflix, etc.) and helps provide processing power for the Kinect sensor and its gesture and voice controls; and the Exclusive partition, which is where games run."
- "Microsoft also has new Kinect to share, and it includes a 1080p wide-angle camera that's designed to read your heartbeat while you exercise," The Verge reports.
- "With the launch of the Xbox One, Microsoft is adding a partnership with the NFL to provide live broadcasts paired with fantasy league statistics," writes David Yanofsky over at Quartz, who calls the new system "an Apple killer, in the living room."
- "The next game in the Forza series, Forza 5, was briefly shown .... If there was a game to steal the show, award that to Quantum Break, the next game from developer Remedy (Max Payne, Alan Wake)," reports CNET. Its rundown of the new console's games includes sports games from EA Sports, such as Madden NFL 25, FIFA 14, and NBA Live 14.
- "It has unfortunately now been confirmed that the Xbox One will not be backwards compatible, either with the Xbox 360 or the original Xbox," IGN reports.
Photos of the new Xbox show that while the system has a clean design and restrained graphics, it also has straight edges and a bulkiness that, as several Twitter users joked, "puts the 'box' in 'Xbox.'"
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.