So what do you need for true party awesomeness this Fourth of July? An Xbox. And a smartphone. And the new Microsoft/Nokia "Mix Party" app. And some kickass music.
If that sounds like a lot, don't worry--it's all free.
Microsoft said Tuesday that it partnered with Nokia Music to launch the Mix Party app. You'll need an Xbox; your guests will need their smartphones, whether it be Android, iOS, or Windows Phone. (The phones use the browser, not a dedicated app, to control the music.)
Here's how it works: whoever's controlling he Xbox needs to launch Internet Explorer and go to www.mixparty.nokia.com, and select three artists. Your guests then need to scan the QR code generated next to the playlist, and start voting for the songs they want to hear next. Nokia itself supplies the music. (Update 7/2: The server powering the app will go live at noon on Tuesday, Microsoft said.)
"You know all those devices around you? Things like televisions, smartphones, laptops, tablets?" Microsoft said in a blog post. "Well the web today is built for one device at a time, but soon--our favorite websites will be smart enough to know we have these devices around us, and will begin to offer opportunities that bring our different 'screens' together as a seamless connected experience. We call that the Companion Web. And that's what we're trying to show with Mix Party! Regardless of whether you're using a Windows Phone, iPhone, or Android phone, all you need is a modern web browser on your phone and you can connect to a Mix Party playlist. Well, that and an Xbox."
If this all sounds like the infamous Google Nexus Q, well, you're not far off. The Nexus Q, according to Google, allowed users to "sign in" using NFC and then actually push their own songs to the playlist, rather than vote on them. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the Nexus Q wasn't much more than a glorified jukebox and YouTube player, the Nexus Q was killed before it was ever launched. Reports have said, however, that the Q is slated to be refreshed, and that Google plans its own videogame player.
Microsoft also launched this fun little video promoting the app, below.