When Kinect is released in November, Microsoft will add a "Kinect Hub" to the dashboard to make better use of the controller. This is what that hub will look like, and if you think it's familiar, that's because it is.

The incredibly simple, bold grid-based system on display is very similar to that used by Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system, cutting out the relatively complex menus and button prompts of the current dash (below) in favour of an emphasis on the stuff you use most.

It's also, uh, pretty damn close to the Wii's menu screen. Funny, that.


In the screens at the top and bottom of this post, for example, you'll see there's games on display, alongside media applications, an avatar icon and in the bottom left the two "primary" functions, which control your friends and your own account.

That little hand in the bottom right is the cursor; the camera can track your hand and you'll be able to move that icon with it. As revealed earlier today, and as you'll also see in the screenshot below, you'll also be able to control the dashboard simply by speaking to it.


While this will no doubt put many users off, I really like it, just like I'm a fan of the Windows Phone 7 design. There are only a handful of things you use all the time on a console, and those things should always be front and centre, rather than having to dig around for them in menus all the time.

Those without Kinect, don't worry, you'll keep the same dash you know and maybe even love. And even those with Kinect can opt out of it; that arrow at the top left will whoosh you right back to the standard menu layout, as though the future had never even existed.

It's a little clumsy having a wall between the dashboard and the hub, yes, but then it's also a little clumsy having some 360 owners with a camera and others without, so it's probably the best solution Microsoft could have opted for.