Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

05
Jun 12

E3 2012: Microsoft unveils Xbox SmartGlass, takes aim at AirPlay and Wii U


Put down the controller, pick up your tablet

Xbox SmartGlass: Your newest Xbox peripheral is... your tablet? (screen from xbox.com)

Yesterday, Microsoft kicked off E3 2012 with their annual press conference.

Amongst all the video game trailers, musical performances, and Kinect announcements was one very cool new service coming to an XBox 360 gaming console near you: Xbox SmartGlass.

Microsoft announced that Xbox SmartGlass will allow you to enhance your gaming, television, and movie watching experiences by offering additional information on movies and television shows while you watch them, new ways to interact with and control your games, as well as the ability to stream media from your tablet directly onto your Xbox 360 (and flat screen TV). They’ll also be adding a web browser to the Xbox 360, and instead of the usual clunky controller interface most users are used to, you’ll be able to navigate directly from your favorite phone or top rated tablet, and see it happen real time on your screen.

Game of Thrones on Xbox SmartGlass

Game of Thrones on the TV, and a map showing you where the characters are on your tablet. This is more necessary than it sounds. (screen from xbox.com)

While the name might make you think they’re cribbing a bit off of Samsung’s Smart Window, Xbox SmartGlass’ functionality looks to be taking aim at the function of Apple’s Airplay, with their streaming and “media tossing” capabilities, and the upcoming Wii U console, with their tablet/controller approach. The difference between these offerings and Xbox SmartGlass is that instead of having to rely on one tablet, phone, or controller, SmartGlass works with any tablet.

Nope, that’s not a typo. Any tablet. Well, most Windows phones or tablets, the iPad and iPhone, or Android devices (but that pretty much covers the bases — sorry Blackberry users).

Xbox Smart Glass is slated to be released this fall, so expect to see more details on the service released not just during E3, but also in the next several months.



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