Under the hood, details so far include: an eight-core processor, 8GB of RAM, Blu-ray, USB 3, HDMI in/out, and a 500GB hard drive. Besides all of this, Microsoft is promising a new operating system fusing Xbox and Windows.
Xbox One architecture has "three operating systems in one": Xbox, a kernel of Windows (perhaps like Windows RT), and a multitasking interface. The idea seems to be that this console will be a multitasker at heart.
A new Kinect comes with the Xbox One, with improved accuracy. There’s a 1080p camera, Skype connectivity, and understanding of rotational movement in a structure-like skeleton. Microsoft even claims the new Kinect can read your heartbeat. It can also recognize your controller, not just your hands -- suggesting use cases that sound a little like the PlayStation Move’s wand.
The Xbox controller’s gotten a revamp with an integrated battery, improved ergonomics, a better D-pad, and improved-response triggers. It looks similar but has gotten a bunch of gamer-oriented tweaks.
The tablet-based SmartGlass experience will be around on Xbox One, and will work as before with a variety of phones and tablets.
Built on the existing service and usernames, the new Xbox Live promises 300,000 servers for Xbox One, a whopping number. Matchmaking services will work while doing other tasks like watching movies or Web-browsing, and bigger, faster-connecting matches are promised, too.
Microsoft plans eight new franchises for the Xbox One in the first year, a hopeful sign for a platform that’s become too sequel-dependent. Of course, Forza 5 was shown off, but a new game called Quantum Break from the developers of Alan Wake looks like the sort of game we’re more used to seeing from PlayStation: a big-studio design and cinematic feel.
TV on Xbox
“Xbox is going to be the next water cooler.” That was said during the Xbox event to discuss the Xbox One's role as a social TV platform. To that end, it sounds like Microsoft is developing TV shows and original programming for the Xbox One, making a greater leap into Netflix-like original programming. Steven Spielberg announced a new Halo TV series, and the NFL demonstrated some level of interaction with fantasy stats and Skyping with NFL broadcasts.
The Xbox One will be available "later this year," so that means 2013 after all. Price and a specific date will have to wait...after all, E3 is just weeks away.