In a bit of interesting timing, Microsoft this week released a preview version of its Xbox Music app for Windows Phone 8, an app that fundamentally changes how the firm's music service works with its own mobile platform. You may recall that just days earlier, I provided an early peek at my coming revision to "Paul Thurrott's Xbox Music." Obviously, the release of this new app changes things.
And for the better I think.
I had been struck in the early work on the second edition of the book by how much the Xbox Music experience varied from device to device. Two in particular stood out: Windows Phone 8 and Xbox 360. And both for the same reason, I think: On each, the improved Xbox Music services had been kind of wedged into an old-school user experience that really dated back to the Zune days. And not just old-school, but incomplete.
I've been wanting to cut Xbox 360 out of the book, but I obviously couldn't cut Windows Phone. That Microsoft's mobile platform offered the lousiest Xbox Music experience anywhere was a bit tough, but I didn't think they'd fix things until some future Windows Phone update, possibly in the spring, possibly in late 2014.
So the release of a standalone Xbox Music app for Windows Phone 8 was quite a happy surprise. This app, though still in preview form, offers a much more consistent and complete Xbox Music experience. It's still rough around the edges—and there are weird gaps like the inability to determine where (device/SD card) music is downloaded and so. But it's a preview. It will improve. And I can get this book written while that happens.
I'm dropping support for the Music + Videos hub in the book and will cover Xbox Music for Windows Phone 8 instead. I'm also dropping coverage of Xbox 360. This way I can focus on only the modern and mostly-consistent Xbox Music apps: Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8, Web, iOS and Android, and Xbox One.
With that in mind, I spent a few hours yesterday going over the early and incomplete version of the book that I had previously published. I removed anything about the Xbox 360 and replaced all of the Windows Phone 8 content to cover the new app. I don't think there is any additional topic coverage per se, but here's a new version of the early, incomplete book that is now up to date with the recent changes.
This second early, incomplete peek at Paul Thurrott's Xbox Music 2.0 is available in PDF, MOBI (Kindle) and ePub (NOOK) formats.