Thanks to the Xbox One Summer Update, Windows Maps has arrived on Xbox One as a Universal app.
Windows Maps is built into Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile. Powered by Bing and HERE mapping technologies, Windows Maps provides directions, rich mapping data of the entire world, and even 3D aerial views. Windows Maps also allows you to sync favorite places and use them with Cortana, who in turn lets you refer to places simply as "home" and "work" and so on while using her locational commands. Additionally,
Update: I previously reported that Windows Maps was live for all consoles on the Summer Update. At present, it seems that Windows Maps is only available on the Xbox One Preview. If you're able to find it in the public store, leave us a comment!
Windows Maps has all the same features that it does on PC and Windows 10 Mobile. Favorite locations sync using your Microsoft Account, you can search for directions, browse 3D maps and discover rich information about places all over the world.
Windows Maps doesn't utilize a mouse-like cursor seen in apps like Baconit and Cast. Instead, its controls are mapped directly to the Xbox One controller and handle fairly similarly to browsing the map screen of an open world video game. The left joystick moves your position, and the right joystick controls the tilt and rotation of the map. 'A' is your left click, 'Y' is a global search key, and 'B' is your back button. The triggers zoom and the view button cycles between map controls and Windows Maps' more complex user interface elements.
When out of map view, you can search for locations, get directions, discover rich features of the current vicinity and switch the view between aerial photographs and regular map data. Universal Windows Platform apps don't have access to the full breadth of Xbox One hardware power, so some of its more complex 3D maps like the skyline of New York City caused the app to lag out a little. Still, there's always room for optimization.
Frankly put, Windows Maps on Xbox One is another victory for UWP. You might be asking yourself, "why would I want Windows Maps on my games console?" and for many, there may not be a good reason, but the sheer option is powerful. The whole point of UWP is the mobility of the experience.
For instance, you might be playing a game, but decide to go out to a new restaurant in your local area later in the evening. Instead of reaching for a phone or a laptop, you can now access it straight from your console. And who knows? In the future, you might be able to use Uber's UWP app to schedule a taxi cab too.
The Universal Windows Platform is opening up all sorts of exciting possibilities for computing in the living room, and Microsoft hopes developers will agree. Let's wait and see.
Check out our other articles for more info on the Xbox One Summer Update.
- Xbox One Summer Update review
- The Xbox One Summer Update is rolling out, here's the full changelog
- The next Xbox One Update: Xbox Clubs, Arena, and Looking For Group
- Xbox help, tips and tricks
- Here are all the Universal apps launching with the Xbox One Summer Update
- How to control background audio on Xbox One
- How to turn Cortana on the Xbox One off and on
- How to use the new Games & Apps section
- Xbox Discussion Forums