Microsoft is planning to start beta testing of its next-generation Xbox 360 dashboard in October.
The software giant has been sharing details of its new dashboard with a number of gaming sites this week. The new dashboard, originally revealed at E3 earlier this year, will bring a host of new features. Microsoft is preparing to include YouTube and Bing on the Xbox 360. Bing users will be able to use Kinect’s voice recognition feature to search for movies, music, Xbox LIVE content and more.
Joystiq and Venture Beat both got a hands on of the new dashboard and early reports are positive. Microsoft’s YouTube application is not ready to be demonstrated just yet but the company plans to make it available in the beta test in October. It’s not clear whether Microsoft will make the beta dashboard available to external testers but the company has typically held a broad beta test of its dashboard before rolling it out to users.
Microsoft will also include a Marketplace with applications for Xbox 360. The apps section appears to contain existing third-party applications and the ability to download new apps. Microsoft previously revealed in November that it was planning to bring Silverlight to the Xbox as part of the next wave. The company has been suspiciously quiet about its Silverlight Xbox plans ever since. Microsoft is positioning Silverlight as its strong multi-platform base to bridge the gap between mobile, PC and Xbox.