With Windows 8, Microsoft introduced a new way to multitask called Snap. In short, you could have two apps running simultaneously at once while you could choose which app got to take up more of the screen. Since the Xbox One’s OS is based heavily on Windows 8, the same functionality is present on the console as well. That’s all well and good, but how does it work on a game console?
In a new video released today, Yusuf Mehdi from the Xbox team shows off Snap for the Xbox One. While playing games, you can use Kinect to say “Xbox Snap” and then say the name of the app you want to launch. The game will pause and a side window will open with the app you requested. From there, you can go back to the game with the side window still open. The example below shows Mehdi playing Forza Motorsport 5 while watching ESPN in the Snap window.
With Snap, Microsoft may have a really unique feature on its hands that helps the Xbox One to differentiate itself from the PS4. I can’t imagine playing a game while watching TV at the same time, but using Internet Explorer in a Snap window to look up a game guide while playing a game could prove useful.
So, what about the PS4? While it doesn’t feature multitasking on the same level as the Xbox One, it does have its own enhancements. According to Engadget, you can pause your game, open up another app and then go back to the game by simply double-tapping the PS Home button. Doing so will immediately take you back to the last open app. This can be used to jump between any two active applications. It’s not as nice as Snap, but PlayStation fans will certainly appreciate it after years of dealing with the PS3’s utter lack of multitasking capabilities.[Image: xbox/YouTube]