Browsing on consoles has always felt sticky and uncomfortable, like sleeping with a jar of peanut butter. Nevertheless, IE and Xbox One aim to change that with a huge list of new features targeted to help users navigate through the World Wide Web. Can IE — a browser that struggles to support HTML 5, has a lack of add-ins and no track filtering — work on Microsoft’s next-gen console?
Firstly, if you’re not a fan of this tablet screen faze technology is suck in; you’re not going to like the layout. IE for Xbox One reeks of everything that’s wrong with the tablet heavy design of today. The interface has pastel colored tiles and to navigate, users simply need to ‘swipe’. For users into Windows 8, you’re going to fall in love with the uncluttered, simplistic interface. Everything looks very nice and pretty and according to Xbox, “your favorite sites are going to look amazing on a television.” This is helped by IE for Xbox One finally supporting many of the web standards like HTML5 and CSS3.
There are many ways to interact with IE and Xbox One. You can use your angelic voice; you can use various gestures with Xbox Kinect, you can pick up a handheld device and use the Xbox SmartGlass app, or you can use the tried and true method of an Xbox One controller. These are all very interesting methods of surfing the web, but they all seem needless as generally with a video games console, the player has a controller in their hands anyway. So why would you want to talk to your console like a mad man when imputing using a controller is a far easier Will the SmartGlass app and voice control apps make the experience of browsing Xbox One’s version of the web easier and quicker?
Multi-tasking with IE and Xbox One is going to be a key part of the web surfing experience. Now, multiple tabs, inPrivate browsing, SmartScreen, website pinning, Cookie blocking, and Do Not Track have all been added. The ability to play a game whilst — for example — twitter sits uninterruptedly to the right of the screen is a welcome addition to the console surfing experience as well. Although Microsoft boasts you’ll “never miss a moment,” which is true, sort of, having IE run in the background will take some of the attention away from playing the actual game. Meaning, most gamers likely won’t be using the feature when gaming, but it does offer a smart way of accessing things like online guides and walkthroughs.
Xbox’s marketing almost, embarrassingly enthusiastic about their ‘Hands off, Hands Up’ web surfing. Other than sounding like a police raid, the strangest and most ridiculous feature IE and Xbox One has to offer is the “Gesture Commands.” You can reach into thin air and grab the page. Move your hand up or down to navigate round the site. Pulling your hand towards you zooms in, or push it away zooms out. There are many other gestures and yes, it is a very impressive party trick. Then again, no one in their right mind wants to browse waving their arms around like a startled octopus to check their webmail. The old proverb “Works in theory, but not in practice” has never seemed more apparent, but we hope we’re wrong and will find out soon.
Xbox One releases November 22, 2013.
Source: Xbox Wire