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Xbox One user interface with 'instant switching' detailed

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Microsoft showed off the Xbox One's interface during the console's reveal event today, and it's heavily integrated with the next Kinect.

Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president for Microsoft's interactive entertainment business, demonstrated the always-on device by booting it up with the command "Xbox, on." Users will be able to switch between games, music, TV and movies with voice commands. The switching took mere seconds. Gesture-based navigation powered by Kinect is also available; you can "grab" panes and swipe between them. Saying "watch ESPN" instantly brought up the sports network showing a basketball game, after Mehdi had turned on CBS to watch The Price is Right.

The Xbox One also offers Snap Mode, which will allow for multitasking. Mehdi pulled up fantasy stats for LeBron James while watching the basketball game, and showed Internet Explorer running in a sidebar like it can in Windows 8.

The Xbox 360 launched in 2005 with a relatively bare-bones user interface compared to what it has today — a tabbed setup with a number of "blades" for features like games, Xbox Live and media. Three years later, in November 2008, Microsoft launched the "New Xbox Experience," a significant redesign that hid the blades beneath a press of the controller's guide button and shifted focus to entertainment apps with an interface featuring scrolling squares. Three years after that, in December 2011, came the "Metro" dashboard (image above), another major revamp that aligned the console with Microsoft's tile-based Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems.

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