Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it is now accepting sign ups for the Xbox 360 fall 2011 dashboard preview program.
The software giant is accepting nominations via its connect beta testing site. “Now that our work on the dashboard is almost complete, we are announcing an open call for all Xbox LIVE members to register to participate in a preview program to help us test the system,” said Microsoft’s Larry Hryb in a blog post on Wednesday. The newly designed dashboard will offer the following features:
- New design with integrated Kinect voice and gesture controls
- Facebook Sharing
- Cloud Storage for Game Saves and Xbox LIVE Profile
Codenamed “Madrid”, the November dashboard update will bring Microsoft’s Metro style interface to the Xbox. Microsoft is also preparing to include YouTube and Bing on the Xbox. Bing users will be able to use Kinect’s voice recognition feature to search for movies, music and other content on their consoles. Microsoft is also planning to include some type of Marketplace with applications for Xbox 360.
Microsoft will also introduce an Xbox LIVE TV service as part of its dashboard update. The company announced deals with nearly 40 content providers recently. Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO and Syfy are amongst a number of TV providers for U.S. Xbox owners. The BBC, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are partnering with Microsoft in the UK to offer programming on the Xbox 360. Xbox users will need the latest dashboard update, due in November, to experience live TV with Xbox LIVE. Microsoft is planning to make the TV channels available to Xbox LIVE gold subscribers and some partners will integrate Kinect experiences with their TV channels. Microsoft’s TV service is powered by the company’s Silverlight software.
Visit Microsoft’s connect site to register for the preview program.