Devices that use internet
XBox 360 + Kinect
Microsoft is rarely thought of being at the forefront of the Web these days, what with the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple hogging all the spotlight. And the XBox 360 has been on the market for six years, so it's not exactly a new device. Yet in 2011 the XBox 360 took major steps from being just a gaming console toward being an all-in-one entertainment platform for consumers, fueled in large part by the Internet. In December, Microsoft announced a major software upgrade to the XBox that will bring a wide array of content apps, pitting it against Google TV, Apple TV, Boxee and Roku. Crucially, consumers can also now get get traditional pay TV services through the XBox platform, which gives it a leg up over those other providers. Last year, XBox managed to refresh its own brand and paint itself as a more innovative product with the launch of the Kinect. The motion-controlled sensor bar is more of a user interface mechanism than a device whose functionality relies on the Web. Still, it represents one of a few new ways that consumers can interact with digital content and the Web. It's been a hit with consumers and Apple has filed a patent of its own to bring motion-based controlled to its devices as well. While the device came out in 2010, much of the action happened this year as developers hacked the device to do its bidding. Instead of shutting them down, Microsoft has openly embraced the tinkering by making an SDK available and is even offering a cash prize to whoever can come up with the best hack. 4. Your TV
The future of television is still very much being forged, but 2011 was a big year in its ongoing formation. The aforementioned update to XBox 360 was just one step toward that future. Its voice-controlled search feature may offer a glimpse at part of what Apple has up its sleeve for the HDTV market. For now, Apple's current offering in the TV space remains its "hobby" set top box, which has several...
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