The new update to the Xbox 360 Dashboard is here for a select few who decided to enroll in the program. Announced back in July, including screen shots, this new version of the Dashboard would bring more features, as well as the metro interface to Xbox 360.
Right when the Xbox boots up you are shown the new welcome video, with the swoosh instead of the halo coming from the logo. Once you get to your dashboard, clearly there has been a Metro makeover. The tiles are now are squared off, and the only effect on them seems to be a drop shadow instead of the reflection. The loading screens have been replaced with two outlines of circles, one inside the other, both spinning clockwise.
Much of this update also works in Kinect, including adding the entity "Kinect Settings" under system settings. Most of these options appear to be calibration related. There are also test tools and demos which show how Kinect will work.
Other new features include an updated "My Xbox" when you select your gamer tag. Presented to you now is the original main screen for your account, but just one tile over you have easy access to your Account Management, which shows information about your account including Membership, Points, and the Windows Live ID. Another tile over has privacy, and then from there on out it is all about the games and your achievement progress.
Apologies for quality.
All graphics are flat now, which is the Metro style. Where it shows "A" Select and B "Back", instead of the glossy button images, they are now simply flat colors. The interface feels far from flat however, as it has a fluid motion and tiles seem to almost "pop out" when you go over them. All titles also appear to have new, updated icons. The animation is smooth and a pleasure to look at. Something about this update just seems refreshing, although having all of the menu categories the same size is a little odd and creates visual clutter.
The Dashboard update also features Metro updates to applications, and a new one, ESPN which will allow users to view over 3500 sporting events directly from their Xbox 360.
Zune has been updated as well, which is very much akin to its PC counterpart. When searching for music, as you enter in the letters it updates with matches as you type, saving time and patience. The team did a fantastic job with the interface, and if you have a Zune Pass, you can go stream any music you wish. When playing songs it starts up the "idle" screen that is in the desktop version. Using Zune on Xbox has never been easier.
The hard work Microsoft has put in on this update shows, and has paid off. When it is officially released, this will come as a freshening change rather than something people will curse over having to adapt to.