Hands on with the future of Windows Phone and Xbox integration [video]

By Tom Warren, on 26th Oct 11 2:24 pm with 49 Comments

Microsoft revealed more information about its Windows Phone and Xbox interactions on Wednesday.

The software giant launched a new Kinectimals application that allows Windows Phone users to create their own characters on the go and then transfer them straight onto the Xbox. The application uses a QR code to allow the Kinect camera to read and create the character made from a Windows Phone device. It’s one of the first examples of what Microsoft is planning for its Windows Phone and Xbox integration. The second is an application that will allow Windows Phone users to control their Xbox console from their phone. The Xbox companion app will be made available for free to Windows Phone users and will let owners find and control content from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Xbox 360.

Microsoft’s companion app is part of a number of new integrated experiences between Windows Phone 7.5 and the new Xbox dashboard. The software giant claims the control mode for Windows Phone is “virtually instantaneous,” allowing users to use their phone as a TV remote. The demo at Nokia World certainly backed up that claim, the only disappointing part is that you can only use the app to control video content on the Xbox. Check out the full demo below.

  • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff Kibuule

    I really hope Bing search includes Netflix and Hulu Plus. Having to search in specific apps is so not user friendly.

    • rojo

      According to the demos it does. This is something I am really looking forward to myself because it is such a pain to go in and out of these apps to find a movie or TV show.

    • http://twitter.com/janespoon1 janespoon

      Wp7 has to bad specs, With a market of less than 1%. Who wants to write apps and games when it does not give any money

    • Seth_p

      That argument is really dumb, no offense. I write apps because I see a lot of opportunity. Windows platform is showing growth & interest in the consumer market is positive. You could ask why programmers contribute to a linux OSS when the shares aren’t a real threat to OS X or Windows. This sort of question reminds me a lot of the Apple mindset.

    • http://twitter.com/based_graham Graham R

      Everybody will want to write APPs you know why? Cause now an app developer can make his/her app not only available to phones but available to Windows 8 which means tablet, laptop and desktop market. How many businesses and goverements still use Windows? Also devs can now port their apps to Xbox how many people own an Xbox 56M

      So if you look at the total market not just phones your looking at a HUGE fricken market and thats whats going to attract developers to make applications.

    • Guest

      I don’t know which is worse, your broken English or your broken brain.

    • Anonymous

      Pay no attention to this troll. He posts on every site that has an MS article with the same argument. When WP7 has the same or better specs as its competitors and has growing market share, he will just find something else to complain about.

    • Guest

      It’s “too” not “to, you repetitive half-wit.

    • Binggle

      Watch you grammar janespoon: Wp7 has to bad specs
      Do you mean “too”?

    • Anonymous

      Everybody, don’t feed the troll!. Otherwise they’ll just come back for more.

    • Anonymous

      IIRC, it does.

  • Anonymous

    I like the control app, and even though its limited right now it shows huge potential. I look forward to future updates of the app. Hopefully they add music control too!

    • GP007

      Yeah, I agree, we should see lots more options with future app updates which would be very very nice.  But movies is a good start for this so it’s good.

  • http://www.windowsobserver.com/ WinObs

    Amazingly smooth video.

  • Anonymous

    Looks good. I wonder if we will be able to test this app with dashboard preview program

  • Anonymous

    that’s what I’m talking about. MSFT has to play to its strenghts. give people scenarios they just can’t get from google apple because of their lack of penetration in homes with PCs and consoles with the xbox. the one thing google/apple can’t hope to achieve anytime soon is 50 million+ settop boxes all over the world as well as 1billion pcs right this very minute. If they keep this up and integrate it all into a good ecosystem, it will make the apple/google offerings look isolated and underpowered in comparison.

    • Anonymous

      It’s a great start.

      Most MS detractors simply don’t realize just how much of a lead MS has over both Google and Apple when it comes to ecosystem integration. Even with Google’s buy of Motorola Mobility, where they will absolutely make an attempt to push Google TV with MMI’s settop business, they don’t have a prayer of catching the Xbox 360 with its installed user base and library. Apple TV simply hasn’t caught on. Perhaps Jobs simply “didn’t get it”.

      When it comes to the living room, people are going to want as much functionality for the best price. iOS and Android simply don’t compare against the Xbox.

    • Guest

      “they don’t have a prayer of catching the Xbox 360 with its installed user base and library”

      That kind of complacency is what saw MS lose a decade head start in mobile and then tablets. 50M isn’t that big a number to make up when iPad, for example, has sold that many units already and is expected to double that next year. Apple and Google aren’t aiming to take on Xbox directly, or even the hard core gamer. They’re targeting the average user in their living room. And both plan on doing that via new TVs. MS doesn’t even have a direct TV play. It’s strategy has focused on Xbox as the client and MediaRoom as the server. Carriers have been very slow to roll out MR. If Google or Apple can win on the TV side, they can bypass that bottleneck entirely and very quickly make up the installed base deficit.

    • Anonymous

      No… What made Microsoft lose decade was the DoJ agreement that forbade them from integrating any of their products. That agreement expired on May 12th of this year and now MS can “fairly” compete with Apple and Google who have neither the breadth or depth of services and talent.

    • Anonymous

      Except they are not being complacent. In fact this unit of MS is very much active.

      50M doesn’t seem like a high number, but its also an installed base that you can’t ignore. Still, MS is being very forward thinking by harnessing this user base and attempting to expand far beyond the core features of the Xbox to reach new audiences. Kinect is a great example of that. Digital media distribution, live TV, upcoming communications (Skype}, and so on. MS is also targeting the average user, and their continued success with the Xbox month after month could very well be a sign that their strategy is working.

      Google and Apple may not be trying to reach core gamers, but I think the response to their offerings shows that consumers expect a lot more functionality in the living room than what either of them are currently offering. Otherwise, Apple or Google TV would have caught on already.  I dare say that the reception to those offerings hasn’t even been lukewarm. So to expect them to penetrate the living room simply because of their success in mobile simply won’t work. They have to offer something that their competition isn’t, which they are not doing right now. Even if they integrate their offerings directly into a TV, they are still offering very little. Of course, it remains to be seen what else either of them would come up with.

    • Guest


      “In fact this unit of MS is very much active”

      There’s part of the problem: ”this unit of MS”. And even that unit isn’t one unit. It’s multiple different sub units including Xbox, MR, WP7, Zune music and now Skype. To win in the livingroom, MS will need to get alignment not just across those, but also Windows, Servers, and Online as well. It’s a given that Apple will. But for MS, that would be a first.

    • Anonymous


      I think Xbox, Windows Phone 7, and Windows 8 are already showing that they can very much align their products. They’ve already shown that for the living room.


      I have to agree with you. The DoJ agreement surely had an effect on what and how Microsoft could make it products work together. Since it expired, we’ve seen quite a push from MS to bring their products together. 

    • OMG55

      That will be a battle, do you think Carriers and TV networks are going to allow that? Many of the Networks own or have stake in these carriers. you know these people wont sit back and let something in that will impact their funds. They will not lay down to Apple or Google like Blockbuster did with netflix.

    • Guest

      “Apple TV simply hasn’t caught on. Perhaps Jobs simply “didn’t get it”.”

      True. MobileMe didn’t either. They came back with iCloud. Expect something similar here. Especially with Jobs indicating shortly before his death that he’d finally cracked it. A SIRI enabled TV, connected directly to iCloud/iTunes/App Store would be my bet.

    • J A

      A pple is not good at any of those things you mention. They are simply not the same as selling overpriced laptops and desktops.

    • Anonymous

      Apple still has a disadvantage though. MS already has a matching offering in Zune services (cloud based) already integrated into their Live service that offers instant HD streaming. Not to mention the service has Voice commands via Kinect. An offering that can extend to over 50 million in an already existing installed base.

      Sure, SIRI is interesting, but its no game changer. Meaning, it’s highly limited in its functionality when you have an offering such as Kinect that is far more extensible into other forms of entertainment, such as games. For example, consider the recent announcement of Sesame Street and NatGeo with Kinect. That’s far beyond anyting SIRI is currently capable of in terms of interaction with the viewer.

      Now with the rumor of the Apple TV sets. Apple evangelicals might be excited about it, but I don’t see this being the massive success they would expect it to be. SIRI and all. Not when there are current offerenings on the market that not meet those capabilities, but exceed them. Not to mention, I can move my Xbox to any TV in my home, or even just replace the TV. MS has been great with providing software upgrades to the Xbox experience since the hardware provides far more capabilities than anything running iOS can. I do not think the average consumer will be too high on having to upgrade their TV’s as often they do their cellphones. Not in this economy.

    • http://twitter.com/XMARKLIVE mark reese

      jobs  was talking (siri) voice intergration with google tv  .microsoft is already doing that with connect………apple 2 late

  • phil jay

    Cool stuff, might get to buy an xbox soon with all that stuff coming.
    Not that impressive, but both related and both went online pretty simultaneously.

  • Anonymous

    Can I play my own media using this app?

    • Anonymous

      This I would like to know. With the dashboard preview coming I think we will know soon. There is no reason the Xbox should not be able to index your own media living on your Windows 7 libraries.

    • GP007

      As long as it’s a media format the 360 can play ( they might add support for more with the new update, maybe) then there could be a option to play/stream media off of your phone to the 360 if MS has added in the option, we’ll have to wait and see.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting, the AppBar has 5 buttons on it (instead of the usual 4 button limit)

  • Anonymous

    small issue but I REALLY wish they had updated/”metrofied” the achievements/notifications on the new 360 dash.

  • Anonymous

    looking good MSTF, keep it coming.
    I love the xbox companion.

  • Anonymous

    awesome! I can’t wait for this

  • Anonymous

    Anyone else notice the VUDU movies tile under the “play on your console” next to the Zune tile and the Uverse tile? VUDU was not a launch partner with the new Xbox experience but I would be glad to see them come on board. Also, put my (eventual) Ultraviolet library here and I would be a happy camper! 

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/6G3ZZJCHOLYP3S5CRCIHQ7WDSE MVIM

    That Xbox Companion app violates Metro spec. An app bar cannot have more than four buttons. Additional options are supposed to go into the app bar pull-up menu.

  • http://voguishtech.com Wemberg Carlo Estil

    And this young folks is how you build an awesome Ecosystem!!!

  • http://twitter.com/JoshMartin7 Josh Martin

    Again, I’m loving that they FINALLY got people demo’ing the phone who know how everything works!

  • GP007

    I’d like to see more game devs wirting mini-companion apps to their big name games for the phone.  I think you can do lots of things on the phone for games like MMOs or RPGs or even something lke Battlefield 3 for example.   Lots of games can take advantage of this and people will buy the phone just to get this type of integration with their games imo.

  • Anonymous

    Too sweet!

  • Kieran Kelly

    Is there still another day of nokia world?

    • Penta2100

      Ya. I wanna know what the phones look like

  • Niko

    They should be using microsoft tag…

  • Anonymous


  • http://twitter.com/stevesu_ Steve Sutton

    Very cool!  Couldn’t that video get turned into a great commercial?  Kid walks up to parent, asks to borrow their WP7.  Shows kids making changes to Kinectimal, then syncing with XBOX…  Then just shows the Microsoft logo…  /endscene.  Then show a commercial with the same family later that night, of family sitting on couch searching through movies, then show it connecting and starting on the TV… Logo…/endscene

  • http://twitter.com/based_graham Graham R

    Xbox should develop waypoint for all their top tear xbox live multiplayer games. Also here is an idea I hope 2k or EA devs are listening say if you have NBA 2k, Madden, NHL with Xbox and Xbox Live mobile you can play your association on the go so for example

    You load up a new 82 game association with your favourite team (Chicago Bulls) and you get your roster setup etc. 2k share will upload the data to a cloud and you have the 2k app on your phone which can also talk to that data share.

    Say if you play a game at home and you gotta go to work in the morning. With the 2k app on your phone you have the ability to access your association, sim games make trades etc and when you get back home you can actually play the game and continue on.

    Now this is the future of Xbox and Xbox mobile integration with sports games I hope MS does it first because I know Sony will likely follow.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Matthews/100000189923615 James Matthews

      That’s some good stuff right there.

  • http://www.tabletbestprice.net Tablet

    Pay no attention to this troll. He posts on every site that has an MS
    article with the same argument. When WP7 has the same or better specs as
    its competitors and has growing market share, he will just find
    something else to complain about.