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.