SkyDrive: Microsoft’s Cloud Service Now On Xbox 360

Microsoft has released a SkyDrive app for the Xbox  This move solidifies the usefulness of the Xbox in the living room as more than just a games console, allowing users to work with files in their SkyDrive cloud storage, which are typically synced from their PC or Windows Phone. For those not familiar, SkyDrive offers free and paid Cloud storage for your photos, videos, documents, etc, as well as access to web-based versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. And no, contrary to what the AT&T rep at Best Buy recently told me, SkyDrive is not Microsoft’s “copy of iCloud,” but in fact predates Apple’s cloud efforts by several years.

Head on past the break for a full list of features.

Microsoft has released apps for iOS, OS X, Android, while Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 boast native integration of the service.  Now finally we get something, at least a subset, to allow us to easily see our pictures and videos in our TVs.  The app went live this afternoon.

 

SkyDrive usage has doubled in the last six months.  It doesn’t surprise me, SkyDrive is fast, reliable and offers 7GB of free Cloud storage.  If you are among the lucky early users then you have 25GB free.  25GB!  Insane.  Of course Microsoft also gives you the opportunity to purchase extra storage for a low fee.

The primary features of the app on the Xbox 360:

  • Shared photos & videos. You can share photos or videos and allow friends or family (or both! Go nuts!) to view them on their own TV.  Of course, you can also view photos and videos others have shared with you.
  • Snap and see. Windows Phone users can snap a picture and it will appear almost immediately in your SkyDrive camera roll on your TV via Xbox 360.  Just make sure you’re using the same Microsoft account sign-in for both Xbox LIVE and your Windows Phone if you don’t want to be left scratching your head.
  • Party slide show. You can have a slide show playing in the background at a family gathering, party, soiree. Hell, even a wake if you want.

The app supports Kinect voice and gesture controls too, so you can shout and wave your hands and arms at your Xbox, which is always good for a laugh (especially if the neighbors are watching you through the window and can’t hear anything or see the TV screen).

Microsoft is getting close to their vision of “Three screens and the Cloud,” with SkyDrive the glue that binds them together.   I, for one, am a big fan of the direction Microsoft is taking, and it’s exciting to see their rapid progress month after month as they finally fulfill their promise of a truly connected ecosystem that extends well beyond simply a phone and tablet .  This new app just keeps reinforcing my belief that the future belongs to Microsoft, and they’ve made a lot of hard choices to get here.

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