The Fifth Column: Live Droid
One of the first apps that I searched for when I got my Android phone was for Xbox Live. There were a few third party apps around but no official release from Microsoft. This has changed recently with the launch of an official Xbox Live app.
The app allows you to compare achievements with Live friends, customise your avatar, message friends and edit your profile. The interface is slick and highly polished; it fits perfectly with the Xbox dashboard in terms of look and feel. The feature set is basic but those features are well implemented.
At start-up you login to your Xbox Live account. The app then loads the Spotlight which lists trailers of soon to be released games. The next page lists the Social area where you can contact your friends, read your messages and set your beacons. It also lists your gamer score, Xbox Live status and your avatar. You can update your profile from this page and play dress-up with your avatar. The third and final page lists all your games along with your achievements and the gamer score for each title. It also has the function to search your game history for a specific title.
The app has many of the key features of the Live website and the dashboard. But I do have a few issues to note. It takes about 15-20 seconds to login which seems a bit long. I tested this a few times by logging in and out and it still averaged around 15 seconds. If you stay logged into the app all the time, this is less of an issue but it is an annoyance at start-up. On the Social page the friends, messages and beacons buttons are not very responsive. When I first started using the app I thought that I had to double tap the buttons, seeing as this is a Microsoft app. But after testing it a few times it just appears that you need to push the button more than once in order to activate it.
The app is great if you like to spend a lot of your time customising your avatar. The avatar interface is very easy to use and has many of the features of the dashboard. But I would have preferred an option to access the Games Marketplace and perhaps even purchase items via the app. There are also very few options to customise the interface. You cannot turn off the sounds and your avatar is always animated. Given that the app is for a mobile device, it would be nice to be able to reduce the system overhead by limiting the animations.
The app is quite a big download weighing in at 13.84MB, given the limited functionality that is not a lot of bang for your download. The average review score on the Play Store is 3.6/5. Given the limited functionality and bugs I would rate it a 3. It is the first release so here is hoping that it will get better over time. There are a few other Xbox Live apps advertised on the Play Store but I have not been brave enough to test them. Given that your Live account may contain billing information as well as Live points, I would not advise anyone to trust their Live credentials to an unknown app vendor.
The feature set is quite basic as I have mentioned earlier; a few user reviews mentioned that it is not as feature rich as the Apple version. If you have installed it on your iPhone, give me a shout in the comments section.