Xbox SmartGlass, the second screen technology for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console, will launch this Friday, 26 October.
Microsoft revealed that SmartGlass will arrive at the same time as Windows 8, and will be available immediately on any Windows 8 device: smartphone, tablet or computer. The app is free to use. SmartGlass will also launch on iOS and Android devices in early 2013.
SmartGlass connects a device to your Xbox 360 and allows it to act as a second screen – very much in the same way as the Wii U’s touchscreen controller, or when a PS3 and PS Vita are teamed up. For example, when you’re playing a game such as Forza Horizon on your HDTV, your smartphone or tablet will be able to act like a GPS device, showing your position on a map.
But Xbox SmartGlass is not just used with games. In keeping with Microsoft’s increasing focus on the Xbox 360 as a media playback device, SmartGlass also works with movies and music. When you’re streaming a film on your Xbox, you’ll be able to control playback with SmartGlass, as well as browse actor bios and other information. You’ll also be able to pause the film on your TV, then resume it from the same point on your SmartGlass device.
So look out for SmartGlass on your Xbox 360 from this Friday. You’ll need the latest dashboard update for the console, as well as a Windows 8 device, to use it. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on Microsoft’s response to the Wii U: do its possibilities excite you, or does the thought of a second screen seem too distracting? Let us know in the comments box below.