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Xbox One: Comprehensive launch review

Eight long years after the Xbox 360 debuted in 2005, its successor console the Xbox One has finally arrived. The new console brings more than just increased horsepower to the table; it also sports an assortment of unique multimedia features and a new Kinect camera/microphone array that kind of works properly this time.

Before we got to this point, the Xbox One suffered through limp reveal events and E3 presentations as well as widespread controversy revolving around initial plans for the console to require an internet connection to function. Since then, Microsoft wisely reversed course on the online requirement and brought its messaging more in line with gamer tastes.

How does the Xbox One stack up to those tastes, the Xbox 360, and its direct competitor the Playstation 4? Find out all that and more in our lengthy and all-encompassing launch review!

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According to sources familiar with company plans, Microsoft is preparing to roll out an update for the Xbox 360. This package will implement changes to the dashboard UI and will enter into a public beta in late June or early July. Said changes are believed to be in preparation for the next-generation console, which Microsoft will be announcing soon.

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We wrote yesterday about the things to watch out for with the launch of Windows 8. One of those things was SmartGlass and Microsoft have now revealed more ahead of the launch. They have updated the Windows 8 apps and free streaming is now available for Xbox Music.

As part of a broader roll out of better entertainment services, SmartGlass aims to improve the ability to use tablets and smartphones to better control the experience with the Xbox 360.  The video goes on to show how internet sessions can be shared from Windows Phone 8 to the console, along with bouncing it back from the console to your tablet. It’s looking awesome, check out the video after the break.

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Microsoft continues to flesh out their Xbox live app for those of us that have iPads. The latest update brings more of the once exclusive features of the Windows Phone Companion App to iOS users. Unlike Windows Phone, which has a combination of apps to take care of Xbox live business, the iPad rolls all the functions into one. Personally, I like it all integrated into one whole and have been a little confused as to why the Windows Phone has essentially stuck with the Xbox Hub plus the two addition apps called Xbox Companion app and Xbox LIVE Extras App.

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Microsoft has plans to introduce a $99 Xbox 360 console package that will be accompanied by a two-year monthly subscription as early as next week. According to sources, the software company will offer the 4GB console package, which includes a Kinect sensor, at Microsoft Stores in the states. The bundle will be subsidised with a monthly fee of just $15.

As well as the console and Kinect, customers who make the purchase will have a Gold subscription activated on their Live ID Microsoft Account throughout the contract duration, and will be covered by a two-year warranty. There is likely to be an early termination fee for those who have the desire to break out of the contract prematurely, but how does the cost work out? Total amount comes to $459 ($99 upfront fee with a two-year $15/mo subscription) for the soon-to-launch package offer. But should you purchase the bundle with a Live subscription outright (without the offer), you'll be looking at around $400. 

Microsoft is targeting those who are keeping an eye out for a cheap entertainment centre. With Windows 8 on the horizon, not to mention a new music service, the software giant will look at more ways to attract potential customers to their new ecosystem. As a slight humorous side-note: the $15 monthly fee equates to $360.

Source: The Verge

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Telus made some headlines for offering a free Xbox 360 with a new Windows Phone 7 purchase back a few weeks ago, but they only had like 100 and it was limited to Toronto. This time, however, things are different.

For four days only, December 15th through the 19th, people looking to get a new contract or upgrade to Windows Phone 7 will all get a free Xbox--across Canada. Though the stores may not have them in stock, they will ship them to you as an alternative means.

Of course in Canada, they have those crazy three year contracts, meaning you are really committed to them and that rule applies here to qualify. But hey, for a free 360, we think we might commit.

Source: MobileSyrup

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