Dell has just given this ebook enthusiast a reason to buy Microsoft’s latest gaming console. According to the product page on the Dell website (and semi-confirmed by Microsoft) the Xbox One is expected to be able to run Windows 8 apps when it ships on 22 November.
That means that come December I could be posting about someone reading a Nook ebook on a 50″ screen.
The Xbox One was announced this summer and is Microsoft’s third gaming console. It’s listed on many a retail website, including Dell’s, but not all of the listings say the same thing. One site in particular, Dell, is describing the Xbox One as having support for Windows:
With all your favorite Windows 8 apps able to be run on and synced to your Xbox One, now your phone, desktop, tablet and TV can all give you a unified web and entertainment experience.
While one should normally be cautious about this type of story I think Microsoft’s current interest in ebooks is a good reason to get excited. PCWorld first reported on this story, and AllThingsD got a confirmation that said, in part:
The suggestion that all Windows 8 apps run on Xbox One is not accurate.
MS might be saying that not app apps will run, but arguably that is also an admission that some Windows 8 apps will run on the Xbox One. And just to be clear, they are probably referring to Windows 8 and not Windows RT. The Xbox One is running on an x86 compatible CPU from AMD, not an ARM chip, so at the most basic level it is compatible with Window 8.
Microsoft has been interested in ebooks for nearly 18 months now, ever since they invested in Nook Media. They are rumored to be working on an Office Reader app and they also have an Xbox team responsible for some type of ebook platform. All I have to go on is the name, but I think a team name of “Xbox Music, Video, and Reading” means a heck of a lot now that the Xbox One is going to have support for some Windows apps.
It would not surprise me if Microsoft had plans for an ebook app of some kind on the Xbox One. And given how much effort B&N is putting into updating the Nook Windows 8 app, I’m half expecting to see that show up as well.
I doubt very many people do a lot of reading on large screens, but the idea isn’t as crazy as it might sound. Pablo Defendini of Safari Books Online expounded on the idea at last year’s Books in Browsers conference:
I don’t see myself reading very many ebooks on a large screen, but I do think that this offers some interesting possibilities for educational purposes. I would like to use a TV-sized screen to display textbook and other educational info. With all that screen real estate there would be no need to shrink a diagram down to a few inches across. The larger screen would also make collaboration easier, IMO.