Rumored Xbox SmartGlass is actually ready for prime time and was officially unveiled at the E3 2012 Microsoft Press event.
Early rumors of Microsoft Smart Glass said that MS will only show it behind closed doors. But Microsoft has actually officially announced Xbox SmartGlass today.
“SmartGlass takes all of your devices and first makes them all work together, and second works in concert with your Xbox to unleash a whole bunch of new scenarios,” Yusuf Mehdi, chief marketing officer for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business says. “Imagine being on the couch and watching a show or a game and having your tablet suddenly light up with information, and as things occur in the show, the tablet updates. It’s really, really cool.”
SmartGlass means using your tablet to draw up a play in the Xbox 360 “Madden Football” game before watching the play executed to perfection on your television. SmartGlass means watching a movie and being presented with bonus features and related content on your phone or tablet without having to lift a finger.
With Internet Explorer coming to Xbox, SmartGlass also means exploring and controlling your favorite websites on your TV with a swipe, pinch or zoom on your tablet or phone’s touchscreen.
“In the past when people have tried to put a Web browser on the TV, the experience has always been difficult to navigate,” says Lisa Worthington, senior public relations manager for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business. “You need to have something to input text easily, but keyboards and mice don’t really belong in the living room and using a remote is awkward.”
With SmartGlass, people can now use their phone or tablet to type text, pinch and zoom, and even pin their favorite sites directly to the Xbox dashboard.
“We recognize that people have these second devices in their hands while they’re consuming TV,” she says. “But what they don’t have is an experience where those devices are talking to each other and the television. Right now devices don’t keep up in the living room. What we’ve done is create an app that will release on all major devices and will enable devices to interact with your Xbox.”
Take HBO’s hit show “Game of Thrones” – with SmartGlass, fans of the show can now not only watch, but explore locations, characters, interactive maps and intricate family trees while watching the show.
Though the SmartGlass app will also support other major platforms, it’s “going to be best on Windows 8 devices,” Mehdi says.