What is Xbox SmartGlass?

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 24, 2012
Updated • Oct 24, 2012
Apps, Windows, Windows 8

Xbox SmartGlass is a new application for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 that is being released on October 26 and October 29 respectively when the new operating systems are officially announced. The app basically enables you to control and share information between your Xbox 360 gaming system and your Windows Phone 8 smartphone or Windows 8 tablet.

SmartGlass on first glance looks like a remote control application for the Xbox 360, but that is far from it. While you can use it to play and manage music and video on your Xbox system, you can also share information between devices.

The remote control feature enables you to control your Xbox dashboard right from your phone or tablet, so that you can select movies or music to play, and use built-in functionality to pause, skip or rewind the media.

The SmartGlass app offers additional functionality that goes beyond remote controlling content on the Xbox. You can for instance use it to send a video that you have been watching on your tablet to the big screen to continue watching it on it and vice versa. The same feature is available for Internet Explorer as SmartGlass enables you to continue your browsing sessions on all connected devices. You can furthermore use the tablet or smartphone to control your browsing session on the television, using native controls such as zooming in or out.

Another interesting feature is the ability to display related information right on the tablet or phone while listening to music or watching movies on the television. The app may display information about related artists or actors that you currently see on screen, display statistics about a basketball, baseball or football game, and give you options to replay highlights whenever you want.

Xbox SmartGlass may be interesting to Xbox 360 owners who plan to purchase a smartphone running Windows Phone 8 or a tablet running Windows 8, or upgrade one of their existing PCs to Windows 8. The app certainly offers advantages over controlling your Xbox dashboard with a game controller, and the interactivity that Microsoft has built in to the app sounds interesting as well. The features that I think have the most appeal to a larger audience are the remote control and the information displayed on the device while you are listening to music or watching television or movies on the Xbox. As far as web browsing goes, it may be a nice feature to quickly look something up but I can't see myself using it to browse the Internet for a longer period of time.


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