On Friday, October 26, Microsoft is officially launching Xbox SmartGlass (opens in new tab), the company's effort to bind its four Windows 8 screens together while also reaching out to Apple and Google-based devices. Announced back in June during E3 2012, it will be a unified entertainment experience that allows consumers to stream and synchronize their Xbox content across all devices.
"We live in a multi-device world," said Yusuf Mehdi, Chief Marketing Officer for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Division. "The millions of people enjoying entertainment on their Xbox are doing so within arm’s reach of another device. We believe your entertainment should travel seamlessly across devices, that devices should work together to make your entertainment more accessible and create entirely new experiences. We knew we needed a single name for all entertainment experiences from our company and nothing means entertainment at Microsoft more than Xbox."
As reported during the summer, Xbox SmartGlass will arrive as a free downloadable app. It will convert Windows 8 and RT tablets and PCs, Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android devices into smart second screens for Xbox content. As an example, consumers will be able to use their SmartGlass-enabled devices as a remote control on the Xbox 360 to pause, rewind and advance media. They will also be able to navigate the Web via Internet Explorer for the Xbox 360 by using familiar touch commands like pinch and zoom, tap URLs into the address bar using a virtual keyboard, and more.
"With Xbox Video, start a TV show or movie on your Windows 8 tablet and finish it on the big screen through Xbox 360; see the names of cast and crew for the film you are watching and discover related films," Mehdi said. "To give you one example of what you can expect, coming next season, HBO GO’s 'Game of Thrones' will offer groundbreaking Xbox SmartGlass experiences."
During a sports game provided by NBA Game Time, ESPN and UFC, real-time stats, player bios, news and highlights will be displayed on the user's smartphone or tablet. Device owners will also be able to control Xbox Music remotely with the SmartGlass app. Better yet, they'll be able to see detailed stats on how they're progressing in Halo 4 without having to pause or leave the game.
"And we've only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible. In the future, new games will be created, TV shows and movies will be re-imagined, and sports will be broadcast from the ground up with Xbox SmartGlass in mind," he said.
The Xbox SmartGlass app is actually available now for Windows 8 and Windows RT tablets and PCs here (opens in new tab). Later on Microsoft will release the app for the iPod Touch (4th generation), the iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S), the iPad (1, 2, 3), Android 4.x, and Windows Phone 7.5, 7.8. and 8.
"It will convert Windows 8 and RT tablets and PCs, Windows Phone 8, iOS and Android devices into smart second screens for Xbox content."
Man do they have things backwards.
Lately everything thats "Innovative" from microsoft has been very wierd. They seem to have the greatest of intentions, the energy to do it, but they never really think things through. Its like watching an over excited chiwawa with a bone thats three times its size trying to get it outside and burry it all the while just running around in excitement wagging its tail and being really confused and frustrated lol.
Microsoft will end up performing mediocerly, the OS will not be a smash success like Windows 7 was even though some will jump into the Windows 8 mania. What can you expect after the success of Windows 7, its like Windows 7 is the original Star wars Trilogy, and 8 is the Prequel trilogy flashy and new, but no where as good as its predasessor.
I tried beta of windows 8 and love the performance, it's everything windows 7 is and more ;)
Now for the smartglass, I thought the idea was great. Makes me double doubt my PS3 purchase over xbox360. Wish PS3 will have the same thing. I'm not entirely sure how it works thought. Is it a mirror display or an extended display like having 2 PC monitors?
I think you are not understanding the idea behind smartglass. The idea is not so much that one device becomes master or servant to any other device, the idea is that there is a free flow of content and information between devices. If they do it right it will allow the user to be the center of a device enviornment rather than the user having to akwardly move between devices.
That is the magic of win8 and skydrive that I think a lot of people are missing: It is not about the interface (which is actually quite like able once you get use to it), and it is not about being a more efficient OS (which it also is, makes my netbook feel like a real computer), the beauty of win8 is cloud support. If I log into my phone, desktop, laptop, etc I have all of my social stuff on all devices (social hub, email, chat client, etc). And if you set up Skydrive the right way you can seamlessly sync your documents between devices as well. For example I have skydrive on my computer, my wife's computer, and my netbook where I can save a document to "my documents" or the "desktop" and the file shows up on all of these devices. If I make a change to the file, then it updates on all of my devices. If I delete a file, then it deletes off of all my devices. If I am on a friend's computer and need a file I just log into skydrive.com and can get to all of my documents and desktop files. Not a huge deal for people who only have 1 computer, but when you are spread out on a multitude of devices like I am, this feature is a huge lifesaver. I no longer have to worry about where a file is, of if the version on my current machine is the newest one, etc. It also acts as my off-site backup for all of these files which is nice (though I also keep local backups as well... you can only trust MS so far lol).
Smartglass takes this philosophy of transparent hardware to the next level with how you interact with media. What device the media really lives on does not matter, and you can interact with media on a whole new level. It works with the xBox360, but really this is just testing for what comes with the next xBox that comes next year. Rumor has it that the xBoxNext will run x86, and full blown win8 and basically become the Microsoft PC to complement Surface and the rumored MS Phone coming out 'soon'. If such rumors are true (which they may or may not be), then the console becomes your PC, your PC transitions to become your home server where the bulk of your content lives, and the phone and tablet become real extensions or complements to the xBox 'PC' by adding functionality while also being able to pull information from your server.
So yes, it seems backwards now, but as the next gen hardware comes out their strategy will start to make a strange sort of sense. One interface type across all devices (phone, tablet, PC, console, and server), with similar software across all devices, and with access to the same data across all devices. It puts Apple's iOS vs OSX scheme to shame, and it really makes the whole Linux/Android thing seem kinda poorly though out. Not to say that these companies could not follow suit with a similar ecosystem, but as of right now MS is oddly doing it right.
This will work