The Top 7 Best Things about SmartGlass
If you missed Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference, or have been living under a rock for the past week with no hope of internet access, then you may be thinking “What on earth is SmartGlass?” Well, last week Microsoft announced an upcoming app that allows for inter-device connectivity. SmartGlass will allow any tablet or smart phone device, be it an Apple, Android or Windows product, to connect to and interact with the Xbox 360. Sounds great right? That’s because it is. This sort of connectivity is the future for both gaming and other multi-media consumption.
Worth mentioning however is the fact that the trailers and demos were all work in progress and may differ in the final product. SmartGlass is due to arrive later this year, though no date has been announced.
7. IMDB (but for your console!)
Don’t let the subtitle fool you, IMDB isn’t actually included in the SmartGlass app but it will offer a very similar service. The example Microsoft showed at their conference featured watching a movie, in this case it was Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, via the Xbox 360 whist reading information about the cast and characters via the tablet. This sort of feature is great for two primary reasons: 1) casually learning about your favourite movie or TV series, 2) settling heated debates with your friends/significant other about the name of that actor you always forget about.
5. Pick-up and Play
If you’re one for travelling then SmartGlass is for you. Say, for example, you’re flying home from holiday and catching up with your favourite TV series on Netflix. SmartGlass will allow you to pause an episode at the end of your flight, travel home, then pick up where you left off via your Xbox 360. Whist this feature does already exist within the Netflix apps, it’s a handy feature to have across any and all other streaming services available to the Xbox 360.
4. Better with SmartGlass?
Now, here’s something for you sports fans. At the Microsoft Press Conference, a trailer was shown of how SmartGlass could interact with Madden 2013, the next instalment of the popular American Football series. SmartGlass allows for changes to be made to plays within Madden mid game, allowing for players to change their tactics on the fly. SmartGlass would then go on to track the progress of individual players on the field, in real time. Also included in the trailer was SmartGlass integration within Halo 4 and Halo Waypoint. During a snippet of the Halo 4 campaign footage, the Chief’s crosshairs hovered over the UNSC Infinity’s crash site. This triggered the activation of new Waypoint data being unlocked. A notification simultaneously appears on the tablet or smart phone and would allow you to delve into some information about the disabled ship. Additionally, the SmartGlass/Waypoint integration allows you to manage game invites. The trailer showed a user accepting a multiplayer invite, triggering the game to pause and save your progress, and being transported to the lobby of a multiplayer game. Cool right? Microsoft has also announced that SmartGlass integration will be included with all first-party Microsoft games, so SmartGlass definitely has a lot of longevity.
3. Internet Browsing
Despite a lack of curtains, the web browsing capabilities of SmartGlass and the Xbox 360 seems to be very impressive. Taking full advantage of Microsoft’s newly announced Internet Explorer/Xbox 360 integration, SmartGlass allows you to control, not only your Xbox 360 Dashboard, but the Internet Explorer hub. You can use Kinect to search for your favourite website using your voice or use SmartGlass and your tablet or phone to physically type into the search engine. The touch screen of your mobile devices allows for smooth navigation of any web page. Microsoft stressed that “keyboards don’t belong in the living room” and, with the introduction of SmartGlass, have completely negated the need for one.
2. It works with ALL the Devices!
One aspect of SmartGlass that was stressed by Microsoft was that the app will be available across all popular tablets and smart phones. It will be available on iPhone and iPads, Windows 8 Tablets and Windows Phones as well as Android devices. The only downside is that an Xbox Live Gold Subscription is required to access the full list of features which, for what SmartGlass offers, is more than fair enough.
1. The Possibilities…
This is just the start; the possibilities of SmartGlass are almost endless. Like Kinect before it, this app could be revolutionary the Xbox experience. With regards to gaming, SmartGlass could be used as a means to view your inventory within your favourite game. For RTS fans, a tablet could be very useful for deploying ground troops, organising artillery units or just generally getting a scope of the battlefield. Whist the nay sayers will label SmartGlass as “gimmicky” or “just a Wii U rip-off,” those who recognise that the Xbox 360 is no longer just a games console will be the ones who truly benefit.