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Windows Phone taps Xbox Live avatarsMicrosoft's Kevin Unangst shows CNET's Ina Fried the central role that Xbox Live avatars will play on Windows Phone 7 when the devices hit the market later this year.
I'm Ina Fried with CNET. I'm here with Kevin Unangst who is a senior director on Microsoft's gaming team. One of the things that Microsoft is planning to do when it has its Windows Phone 7 debut later this year is have a lot of games. Gaming is a big focus for Windows Phone 7. Particularly, it's the first device outside of the Xbox or the PC where you'll be able to tie into Xbox Live. -Well, one of the most popular pieces of Xbox Live is this idea of your avatar, this representation of you on the service, and we brought that in really rich ways to the phone. For example, you know, not only will you have your gamer tag and your identity and your avatar but you're able to interact with your avatar right on the phone. Things that you unlock on the console like, you know, avatar items that you wanna carry with you will come over. For example, you'll see he's happy, he's laughing. I've unlocked the Warthog from Halo and the Warthog actually is just right on my phone and I can interact and he's alive and they can do fun things with it. And, in fact, because we're on the phone, we can use things like the accelerometer so this is much more-- has much more personality and things you can't do on the console, things like when I shake the phone, you see the avatar fall, but he's fine, he'll get back up. -I imagine a bunch of Windows phone gamers are gonna be new to Xbox Live as a whole and you'll be able to create your avatar and edit it and do things like that right from the phone as well. -Yeah, you'll be able to not only see your avatar on everyone who gets a Windows phone, when they log in, if they have an avatar, if they happen on the console, will show that. If not, it's very, very simple to create your own. You can click on-- I've got shirts, I've got clothes, I've got shoes, although I hadn't changed his shirt since he's got the cowboy hat on. I go down here and find a vest that's more appropriate, and there we go. -And that will then translate, if you were to log in on your console, he'd be wearing that vest. -Absolutely. It goes right up to the service. -You've also taken the avatar concept and extended it a little further so that people can use their avatar to do a few sort of basic things that they might wanna do on the cellphone. -Yeah. It's actually taking a lot of the activities that people use cellphones for today, right? It's like I'm using it to light to find-- when I drop my keys or, you know, I'm using it as a level or a ruler and when you add the avatar, you get a lot more personality and so, in this case-- -So, instead of just having an app that turns the phone completely white, here you have your avatar holding a flashlight. -Right, and I can adjust whether it's just a little bit of light or I can even white him out completely by dragging the avatar, by dragging the slider, and yeah, there's a lot of personality there. I've got a lighter, a ruler, one of my favorites is the level so instead of just having this boring big green bubble level, right, as I turn the phone, the avatar notices and he jumps and moves along with it so it's just a lot of fun and adds a unique touch with the integration of Xbox Live to those tasks. you're gonna have fun using the phone for.