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Five Must-Have Apps for Xbox One

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Even though Xbox One is first and foremost a gaming platform, Microsoft intended for it to provide entertainment in a variety of ways. To keep Xbox One’s offerings from getting stale, Microsoft designed the console so that it can run apps in a manner similar to that of Windows 8. These apps allow the Xbox One to be extensible and to evolve with the entertainment industry. Of course, some apps are inevitably better than others. This article discusses five apps that you can use to help get the most out of your Xbox One.
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Although Xbox One is first and foremost a gaming platform, the Xbox One interface can download and run apps in a manner similar to Windows 8. Not surprisingly, some of the apps for Xbox One are far more useful than others. As such, I wanted to write this article as a way of sharing what I find to be the five most useful Xbox One apps.

Skype

Skype is the app that I was most excited about, leading up to the release of Xbox One. Sure, Xbox One is a gaming console, but the idea of o using it to make video calls to friends and family seemed like a nice perk.

Xbox One is not the only platform from which you can run Skype, but it may be the best platform in certain situations. To show you what I mean, consider how I normally use Skype.

I work out of my home as a full-time technology writer. I have Skype installed on a PC in my office, and I use it to communicate with my international clients. (This is a handy way of avoiding the cost of international phone calls.) Of course, the really nice thing about Skype is that you aren’t just limited to placing voice calls; you can also do video calls.

Naturally, clients are not the only people that I ever talk to through Skype. I have friends and family in other states that I like to connect with face to face once in a while. Although I have historically made Skype calls to my friends and family from the PC in my office, I really don’t want to spend my leisure time in my office. Xbox One allows me to run Skype in a more relaxed setting, away from my office.

Some might be quick to point out that I could easily accomplish the same thing with a tablet or a laptop. The advantage that Xbox One has over those devices is its big screen. During the holidays for instance, the big screen television connected to my Xbox One makes it possible for a whole room full of people to enjoy a Skype call with family members who couldn’t make it into town.

Upload Studio

Although Skype was the app that I was most excited about, Upload Studio is probably the coolest Xbox One app. Xbox One has a built-in feature called the Game DVR that lets you capture video of your game play. Upload Studio lets you edit your raw game clips and upload them to the Internet.

I’ll concede that Upload Studio’s editing capabilities are nowhere near as extensive as that of a PC-based video editor. Even so, Upload Studio is still a lot of fun to use. The app lets you stitch together video clips, and you can even add voice overs.

The most fun editing feature found in Upload Studio is the skins. Skins add a fun introduction to your video and then display your video in a rather unique surrounding. For instance, the Pop Art skin adds an introduction that makes it look as if someone is flipping through a comic book. After a few pages, the video is played within one of the frames inside the comic book.

Machinima

The Machinima app is a tool that you can use to improve your gaming skills. The app offers gamers access to tips and tricks as they play a game. After installation, it is possible to say “Xbox Snap Machinima.” Doing so will allow Machinima to be displayed alongside your game. As such, you can watch related videos and see tips and tricks without ever leaving the game.

When released, Machinima originally provided video based help for Battlefield 4, Ryse: Son of Rome, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Dead Rising 3. However, additional videos are expected to be available soon, and you can even earn Xbox One achievements for watching Machinima videos.

SkyDrive

As you would probably expect, the SkyDrive app provides access to SkyDrive through the Xbox One console. In case you are not familiar with SkyDrive, SkyDrive is Microsoft’s consumer grade cloud storage solution. Microsoft provides Xbox One users with 7 GB of free storage in the cloud.

So why is the SkyDrive app so useful on Xbox One? Well, there are two main reasons. First, if you use Upload Studio to create video clips of your game play, you can export the clips that you create to SkyDrive. This means that you can access the clips from a PC or from any other device that can connect to SkyDrive. Doing so allows you to edit the clips or just save them to local storage for safe keeping.

The other reason why SkyDrive is useful is because you can use it to access your personal data from the Xbox One console. For example, I recently uploaded some pictures to SkyDrive from one of my trips, and when I got home I used Xbox One to show the pictures to my wife.

Speech Tutorial

Speech Tutorial isn’t an app that you are likely to keep for long-term usage, but it is useful nonetheless. As you probably know, one of the main functions of Kinect is that it allows you to control your Xbox One by voice. Although this probably sounds simple enough, there are a surprisingly large number of commands available for use.

The Speech Tutorial app is designed to help you to learn what commands are available and how to properly use those commands. The Speech Tutorial walks you through the usage of various commands and occasionally tests your memory by giving you the occasional pop quiz.

Even though you can learn the voice commands without using the Speech Tutorial app, my experience has been that the Speech Tutorial definitely makes it easier to learn how to control the Xbox One by voice.

Conclusion

Admittedly, I had a tough time picking out five apps to write about. Because the Xbox One is brand new, there aren’t a huge number of apps in the app store. I also tried to avoid writing about apps that were too obvious such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Blue-ray Player, Xbox Video, and Audio CD. Although these apps are certainly useful, I wanted to write about apps that were a bit more unique.

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