Tip: Pandora on the Xbox 360

Pandora on the Xbox 360

Pandora on the Xbox 360

Although the Xbox 360 lacks a native Pandora Internet Radio app, that doesn’t mean you have to go without.  Thanks to the introduction of Internet Explorer to the Xbox 360 Pandora is now accessible on the Xbox.

To access Pandora Internet Radio on your Xbox 360 go to the “Apps” category of the Xbox daskboard and launch the “Internet Explorer” app.  When Internet Explorer has launched type “http://Pandora.com” in the address bar and hit “Enter.”  You are now able to enjoy all the free online music Pandora has to offer.

Xbox 720 Rumor Round-Up

Microsoft Xbox 360 Closeup

Microsoft Xbox 360 Closeup

The Xbox 360 celebrated it’s 7th birthday last week.  That’s quite a long life for a gaming console, and that means its time to get excited about the next generation of consoles.  Nintendo has already kick off the next generation of consoles with the Wii U, so everyone is waiting to see what the Xbox 720 and PS4 has to offer.  We have compiled all of the Xbox 720 rumors we believe have merit into one article.

CPU

The Xbox 720 is rumored to be powered by a 16-core IBM PowerPC, compared to the current generation Xbox 360 with a 3.2GHz Tri-Core PowerPC processor.  Although we don’t know the clock speed of the processor in GHz, the fact that the processor will have 16-Core means that game developers and gamers alike will have massive amounts of computing power for their Eighth Generation console games.

RAM

The Xbox 720 is rumored to contain 8GB of RAM.  This is a massive jump in memory compared to the Xbox 360 with 512MB of shared memory.  That is 16 times the memory of the Xbox 360.  Even if the 8GB of RAM the Xbox 720 will be graced with is shared that gives the developers a lot more room to store AI algorithms  textures, models and code to cram into the memory.

Optical Disc

The Xbox 360 was released too early to receive an HD disc format, and even still Microsoft put there money on an external HD-DVD drive.  We all know that HD-DVD lost the format war to Blu-Ray, but the Xbox 360 never got an HD optical storage disc in mid-life refreshes.  Will this generation of Xbox finally include Blu-Ray?

Rumor has it that the Xbox 720 will include a Blu-Ray Disc drive or not include an optical drive at all, but instead rely on downloaded content.   My money is on the Xbox 360 including at least a Blu-Ray Disc drive.  The shear power that will be packed into the Xbox 720 means that AAA games will require a massive amount of storage, and this would cause the gamers to wait an outrageous amount time before getting to play their games.  Microsoft is also pushing the Xbox as an all-in-one media center, so playing Blu-Rays would just add one more trick to its list.  At minimum I believe Microsoft will include a proprietary disc format based on the now defunct format of HD-DVD, but I believe this is unlikely.

GPU

The Xbox 720 is rumored to receive a AMD Radeon HD 7670 Series GPU which is seven times more powerful then the Xbox 360’s GPU.  This seems to be a little underwhelming compared to the massive jumps the CPU and RAM received.  This still puts the Xbox 720 graphics chip on par with the PS4’s rumored GPU, but will outpace the Wii U’s AMD Radeon HD 5670 by leaps and bounds.

Controller

The Xbox has had quite an interesting history with controllers.  Starting with the massive “Duke” controllers of the original Xbox, which ended up getting slimmed down in the S controller.  The Xbox 360 received it’s own controller based heavily on the privious generations S Controller.  The Xbox 720 is rumored to be getting an updated version of the 360 controller with a twist.

The rumor has it that the new controller will receive an HD touchscreen in the middle of the controller.  This will be similar to the Wii U tablet controller, but about the size of a Playstation Vita.  This is a welcome improvement in my book, as long as the near perfect controller formula doesn’t change to much.

Kinect 2.0

Xbox Kinect 2.0

The Kinect 1.0 was an amazing advancement in motion/controller-less gaming, and we are excited to see the next generation of the Xbox Kinect.  In addition to an updated Kinect sensor there has been rumor of Kinect glasses floating around as well.

Kinect 2.0 is rumored to support tracking of up to 4 players at a time with precise tracking of small movements like fingers.  How the new Kinect will pull this off is unknown, but may have something to do with the multiple Kinect sensors rumor.  As you can see in the picture there appears to be two separate Kinect sensors place on opposite sides on the TV.  Such a setup would give Kinect a better and wider view of the player(s), thus allowing improved tracking and 4 player support.

The above picture that was part of a 52-page leaked document above also shows the rumored Kinect glasses.  The kinect glasses seem to allow for multiple players to experience 3D virtual reality in games.  The prospect of having virtual reality in addition to controller-less control is exciting to say the least.  An additional perk the Kinect glasses allow for is multiplayer support taking screen looking out of the picture for same room play.

Conclusion

The Xbox 720 has some big shoes to fill, and if the rumors hold true the Xbox 720 will have no trouble doing so.  With a improved Kinect and Kinect Glasses powered by 16-Core processor, 8GB of RAM and a powerful AMD Radeon 7000 series GPU the 2013 holiday season will blow gamers away.