A spring software update scheduled for release in May will enable users of Microsoft’s Xbox 360 to exchange instant messages with PC and smartphone users, according to Microsoft.
The new release, called the Xbox 360 Spring Update, will be available for download through Microsoft’s Xbox Live online service, and is expected to drop on May 7, 2007. It’ll be a free update for Xbox 360 users, according to the company.
The Xbox 360 Spring Update includes Windows Live Messenger for Xbox 360, a specially crafted instant messaging client that will interface with other versions of Windows Messenger designed to work on Windows PCs and smartphones and PDAs that utilize the Windows Mobile operating systems. Microsoft’s Messenger for Mac software also supports communications with Windows Live Messenger clients, though it supports a more limited feature set.
Windows Live Messenger supports text, voice and video communications between multiple users. The Xbox 360 version of the software will be able to support up to seven users at once.
The Xbox Live service already supports voice and video chat, but it’s exclusive to Xbox users. This new capability will bridge connections to other users of Microsoft products.
The Xbox 360 doesn’t come with a keyboard, so users interested in inputting text IMs can use a “virtual” on-screen keyboard. Alternately, Xbox 360 users can plug in a USB keyboard.