XBOX360I thought I would miss out on the beta announcement for the 2012 Xbox dashboard update since requests fill up quickly among an ever-growing user base. When I heard there was a limited extension to register, I thought I might as well go for it.
I’ve got a feeling this may be the last major update for the current generation Xbox because I can’t see Microsoft spending any more time on it while the next-gen unit is virtually right around the corner (assuming it incorporates a new user interface).

The major gripe I shared with others on the beta forums was the new presence of the Windows Live ID rotating with the Gamertag and Gamerscore at the right upper corner. As identity theft is becoming an increasing matter of concern these days, I’m perplexed as to how displaying the Windows ID is beneficial to the user. I suggested showing Online status instead (e.g. ‘You appear offline’), but it doesn’t look like it would change. At least you can turn off the Windows ID display in the Preferences menu.

Though I never spent much time with the Wii and PS3 web browsers, I was comfortable using the Xbox’s Internet Explorer app. Flash-driven video availability was a hit or miss, but I found it useful to check weather and traffic conditions before I headed out the door for work.
No, I don’t have a smart phone. No SmartGlass for me! 😦

Operationally there is nothing too different with the revealed GUI other than the taller menu interface (a 33% height increase) but it does look more cluttered depending on how MS divides the various panes in each channel. But wallpaper designers rejoice! The upper dark veil and lower ‘floor’ that just about every user ranted about are now omitted; the overlay that actually colored the floor in premium themes remains in effect, but now you can see most of your wallpaper backgrounds.

Wallpaper template for the Xbox 360 dashboard

Updated for 2012

Of course getting access to the beta layout meant I could update my Dashboard wallpaper template, which I’m sure is why you’re looking at this page. As always, the picture is absolutely free for everyone to save and use. Just give proper credit where credit is due.