Microsoft's SmartGlass to turn your iPhone and iPad into secondary Xbox screens

Today at E3, Microsoft announced SmartGlass, a new app that will let any mobile device, including iPhones and iPads, provide secondary contextual content to what you're playing on your Xbox. Daniel Rubino and company from our sibling site WPCentral were on hand at the press conference, and brought back word of Microsoft demoing the system. It worked while watching Game of Thrones with world map information, as well as with Halo 4, where you could check match statistics and join multiplayer games from your tablet. Xbox will also be getting Internet Explorer (IE 10), which you'll be able to control from your mobile device.

It's a smart move on Microsoft's part to support the other mobile platforms, rather than keeping these sort of features exclusive to Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8. There are a ton of iPad users out there that would love to get some better remote control and reference capabilities on their tablet, and though U.S. cable providers have tested the waters a bit, Xbox is a powerhouse in home digital entertainment, and as such will be able to deliver the experience to a much wider audience. I just hope that they don't lock this feature exclusively to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, as they do with really basic stuff like Xbox and Twitter apps.

I worry a little bit that the universal nature of SmartGlass suggests that it will be little more than a fancy website that you pull up in the browser, but so long as it stays properly in sync to what you're watching, it really shouldn't matter how the feature is delivered. The big question is, how much will something like SmartGlass overlap with an Apple TV and AirPlay? They didn't mention anything about device mirroring, which might be the clincher for some people, but for those that are primarily interested in streaming video content while having a bit of interplay with their iPad or iPhone, an Xbox might be a reasonable option that isn't that much more expensive.

SmartGlass is set to be launching this fall, so keep your eye out for it. Also, be sure to follow our boys at E3 for all of the big gaming announcements this week! A video of the demo is currently processing, so check back shortly!

Source: wpcentral

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

18 Comments
  • This isn't supposed to be like AirPlay or to mirror on one device what is on another.
    Get out your violins for Nintendo people, they just killed the Wii U's main feature attraction. That is what this is supposed to be like. A second screen experience for you game or media content. Supplemental to the main thing; like the Nintendo DS has been doing for years.
    But the advantage over the Wii U is all I need is a free app. I don't need to buy another console, tablet controllers, etc.
    There was more to it as well. Using your device as a remote/tackpad for the Xbox; a la iPhone as iTunes/AppleTV remote. Although Microsoft is being extremely friendly here because it sounds like I could also use my iPhone to control the Xbox as well.
    As a heavy Xbox user this is awesome. Come on Simon; as a gamer you should be all over this feature and know it's purpose.
  • A better description would be trying to kill one of the Wii U's features. Yeah, the advantage is all you need is a free app. Oh, and a $500+ tablet to run it, which I'm pretty sure not every 360 owner already has. And this is a tablet that Microsoft doesn't make any money off at this stage.
    Wii U also has the advantage of buttons, which may not be so essential to a portable gaming experience on your phone, but are pretty useful for playing full console games.
    Finally, I honestly can't see this been well supported on a 360, and definitely not by games. Movie/TV features are nice, but I don't really want to be distracted whilst I'm watching something.
    But, just in case I'm wrong on the level of support, have fun holding your iPad and 360 controller at the same time.
  • I've got iPad iPhone and 360 and this sounds great
  • Don't get me wrong, I have, and love, all three devices. But I won't use this. And I'm certain that there are 360 owners out there that don't already own the requisite devices.
  • I have the same worries about this tech as I have with a Siri enabled TV set, that we will have to talk to our devices to get things done.
    I personally HATE the idea of having to articulate well formed and clear sentences just to watch a TV show. If I have to shout it to Siri or XBox across the living room it just gets exponentially worse. I'll take a remote over any voice activated tech.
  • This looks nice, can't wait to sign up for the beta.
  • Maybe this will get Apple to open their eyes and start being more open. Then again, it probably won't. Apple is the biggest asshole out there.
  • i'm guessing the sherlock holmes video he is streaming is from xbox live rental service? wonder if it work for video rental service such as vudu.
    most of my movies are on the laptop which i hook up to my TV for playback.
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