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NEW YORK (
Microsoft(MSFT - Get Report) spent the better part of Tuesday bragging about what they're planning for the company's Xbox gaming console. The list of new features is quite impressive. So much so, that you realize that the upcoming Xbox One is a lot more than just a gaming device.
I won't try to explain every new feature in minute detail for fear of turning this column into a hard-cover, but it's interesting to see exactly what Microsoft deems for their 2013-era game console.
On the outside, Xbox One is just plain looking. Part of the reason for that ordinariness is that Microsoft's One can indeed also act as a cable/satellite pass-thru box for your HD video.
Inside, there is a very, very powerful computer. As predicted, there's an 8-core processor, state-of-the-art video chip, lots of memory and a 500 GB hard drive. What no one really expected was that there would be three operating systems inside. Parts of Windows 8, Windows RT and something new, an Xbox OS. They'll all work in harmony but each will control specific Xbox functions.
In case there was any question, the new Xbox user interface looks very familiar to Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone users. The "Metro" family resemblance is obvious. In addition, as you might imagine, Microsoft-owned Skype is now an integral part of the system.
The new Kinnect 1080p sensor is now an integral part of the device - visible right up front. Kinnect will be able to watch and respond to your every move. It will also understand voice commands - from simple tasks such as turning on/off your Xbox, switching from one input to another or surfing the Web. There is also a new controller with buttons that will relay mechanical feedback.
Microsoft's online Xbox Live subscription service has been refreshed will new features such as the new "Game DVR" function will will allow fans to save, edit and share their feats of prowess with others. Games will be able to be played offline too.