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Microsoft Cortana Removed From New Xbox One Dashboard Redesign

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As part of a new major dashboard redesign for Xbox One, Microsoft will be removing its Cortana digital assistant from the console. There have only been a handful of major redesigns to the dashboard since the launch of the Xbox One, with a new one being released about every two years.

The current Xbox One dashboard design has been in effect since 2017. The console originally launched with a focus on Kinect and the tile-based user interface, but Microsoft walked back both of these features in that 2017 dashboard update. The tile-based UI had been criticized over the years for its excessive number of ads and slow navigation, while general unpopularity led to the discontinuation of the Kinect. The 2017 dashboard broadly addressed these extraneous elements and allowed users to customize the Xbox One home screen, added better integration for social features, and fewer tabs to improve the overall speed of navigation.

Now the time has come for another big change to the Xbox One's interface. In a new post, Microsoft's Xbox Insider team lead, Bradley Rossetti laid out the plans for the console's new dashboard. The most significant change is the removal of Cortana, Microsoft's automated digital assistant that was derived from the famous AI in the Halo series. Microsoft says it's "further evolving" the way voice commands are supported on Xbox One, and has chosen to move away from on-console assistance to cloud-based assistance. That means that users can't communicate with Cortana via headset anymore, as she will no longer be part of the Xbox One's onboard software. However, one can still operate the console using the Xbox Skill for Cortana via the Cortana app on iOS, Android, and Windows.


The new dashboard also aims to create a more streamlined user interface that will allow players to get into their games faster. Dashboard elements have been shifted around to make more room for recently played games, and the "Twist" icons at the top of the home screen have been removed in favor of separate buttons that can launch a user's apps directly. Microsoft says this update has already rolled out to select users in their Alpha and Alpha Skip Ahead programs, and will be fully released to all users this fall.

Cortana's removal from the Xbox One doesn't really come as a surprise. The digital assistant has been on the decline for a while now, at least on the consumer side. She has already been decoupled from Windows 10, and Microsoft has acknowledged that she simply can't compete with other AI like Alexa and Google Assistant at this point. The company has now shifted her focus to the business and development side, hoping to make her a tool for work scheduling and informing other digital assistants. After all, she may end up being more useful that way.

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