Microsoft Updates Xbox Music, Xbox One SmartGlass for Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft Updates Xbox Music, Xbox One SmartGlass for Windows Phone 8.1

It's a two-fer

Overnight, Microsoft issued updates to the Xbox Music and Xbox SmartGlass apps for Windows Phone. Xbox Music picks up a Zune-style live tile, while Xbox One SmartGlass—also updated for Windows 8.x/RT—has been updated with a ton of features related to the recent Xbox One update.

Xbox Music for Windows Phone 8.1

I'm a bit more interested in the Xbox Music app update, to be honest. And if you've been following along with the drama of the Windows Phone 8.1 version of this app all year, you know it's been a rocky ride. However, starting with the previous update, this app is suddenly usable. So I was curious to see what changes come next.

As it turns out, the biggest change in this update—the live tile support—requires Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 (which I'll start calling Windows Phone 8.1.1 for clarity's sake). So the impact, for now, is minimal: Only those on the Developer Preview program or using the newly released HTC One M8 for Windows even have that version of the OS.

Here's what's new in Xbox Music 2.6.224:

Live tile with artist art and visualizations. When music is playing, Xbox Music's live tile will light up with some pretty animated visuals. (Again, requires 8.1.1, and apparently even a specific version, 8.10.14141 and higher, of 8.1.1.)

Album art display. Album art should show up much more reliably in all areas of the app.

Add your own album art. If you're one of those music collection micromanagers who likes to embed album art in ID3 tags (v2.3 and below), Microsoft is now providing a how-to guide for doing this in an Xbox Music-friendly way. Amazing, this requires using Windows Media Player.)

Bug fixes. Microsoft says it fixed several significant bugs in this release, with a focus on page load performance, preventing unexpected app exits, reducing memory footprint (for fewer app suspensions and terminations while multi-tasking), addressing playlist duplication issues, and cleaning up Recent Plays interactions.

You can download Xbox Music for Windows Phone 8.1 from the Windows Phone Store.

Xbox One SmartGlass for Windows Phone 8.0/8.1 and Windows 8.x/RT

Microsoft also issued new versions of its Xbox One SmartGlass apps for Windows Phone and Windows. Here's what's new in version of the apps:

- Share and post activity feed items

- Post status updates to your activity feed

- See your activity feed on your profile

- Display messages in a new conversations view

- Record game clips

- In-app display of release and feature notes

- Support for new markets

- Support for TV and OneGuide in new markets

- Bug fixes

You can download Xbox SmartGlass for Windows Phone 8/8.1 in the Windows Phone Store.

You can download Xbox One SmartGlass for Windows 8.x/RT in the Windows Store.

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