Microsoft is busy preparing for a brand new Xbox dashboard that will be available by the end of the year.
One YouTube user, iTzLuPo, has posted a video and demo of the various new features in the dashboard. The video steps through a number of screenshots from the dashboard and promises Skype integration. The Skype support will appear in the dashboard according to the YouTuber who mods the Xbox 360 system. Skype will allow for calling Xbox LIVE friends and Xbox parties. Microsoft recently referenced Skype Xbox support in an online survey.
The YouTube video also shows off a new “discoverable” option in the dashboard settings. Microsoft describes the option as “change your settings to allow companion devices to discover your Xbox.” It’s not immediately clear how the feature will work but it could explain recent references to Xbox in the Windows 8 kernel. Microsoft confirmed that the company plans to build Xbox LIVE into the PC and into Windows 8. Mike Delman, Microsoft’s vice president of global marketing in the interactive entertainment business unit, revealed the company’s plans in an interview in June. Several strings referencing the Xbox 360 inside the Windows 8 kernel were discovered recently. “XBOX_360_SYSTEM_CRASH” and “XBOX_360_SYSTEM_CRASH_RESERVED” are present in ntoskrnl.exe, part of the Windows NT kernel. The strings hint at Windows 8 being a “companion device” for the Xbox.
The new user interface borrows key elements from Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 user interfaces. The Xbox dashboard now features live tiles in the same way that Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 do. The interface uses Microsoft’s much talked about Metro UI standard across the whole dashboard. The company has also integrated Kinect and Bing into the core of Xbox to allow Kinect owners to control every part of their Xbox 360 with voice or gestures.
Microsoft is expected to release the new dashboard in September or October.
Update: Microsoft has pulled the video off of YouTube, confirming its authenticity.