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Touch and to an extent voice may be good user interfaces for smartphones and tablets but you have to have very long arms for desktop and smart TV use.

It occurred to me why the new Xbox was so important for Microsoft. The Kinect2 controller is the next major advance for smart TVs. As it is first to market if Microsoft play its cards right it may become the future standard for controlling these devices replacing all manner of remotes.

“Morning Dave” (because Kinect knows who you are) “Shall I put on some music or your usual TV Dave?”

“News is fine Hal”

“I see Frank has arrived – shall I lower the volume?”

“No open the pod bay doors”.

That is how Microsoft wants to control smart TV’s – by making it easy.

Xbox One will only work with a new Kinect – motion control is vital to the games market and Microsoft want more control over how it is implemented by using a special interface chip to improve response and features.

It will also double as a web camera that can track six (perhaps more) individual people in the same room! This has gameplay implications as well as the ability to customise content delivery to your “skeleton”. It is so precise that it can determine if your hand is open or closed – right down to giving it the finger. Some say it can even read lips.

Microsoft will also tightly integrate Skype features into the experience so that is will eventually replace your landline (“What is that?” many Gen Y/Z ask).

For those who don’t know or care let’s just say that Xbox One is Microsoft’s way of ultimately linking PCs, Macs, tablets (of all persuasions), smart phones (ditto), smart TV’s and fridges et all to internet, video, music, pay TV, Xbox TV, and oh, and games.

And with Microsoft’s preference for subscription models I think we will see the first pay by the month Xbox Live subscription that includes a new Xbox and all you can eat gaming, music, ipTV and much more. They may have won the patent battle for the smart TV before it even started.

“Nite Hal”.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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