Feature: Xbox Smart Glass Explained

Xbox announced a wealth of new features, updates, apps and technology at the annual Microsoft E3 conference this year, but one new innovation has really gotten the community into frenzy. They call it ‘Smart Glass’ but what exactly does it do?

Xbox Smart Glass is the latest innovation from Microsoft that will bring together content across all of your devices, allowing your smartphone, Tablet PC and Xbox 360 to work in perfect harmony. At least, that’s the spiel anyway. In simple terms it will allow Xbox owners to use their mobile device (iPhone, Android/Windows Phone, iPad etc) to send content directly to their Xbox console in a seamless way.

In Games

One example given at the demonstration was a player using his tablet to draw up a formation for a football match whilst playing NFL on the Xbox console.

Another demonstration showed a player using Smart Glass in conjunction with the upcoming Halo title. The player was able to pull up maps and schematics for the level they were playing, whilst viewing stats like Kill Count, Deaths etc in real-time. These features look really excellent for lore-lovers (geeks) like me, who are always looking to expand their knowledge of the games that they are playing and the worlds that they immerse themselves in.

In Media

Smart Glass will also be used as a controller for media like music, films and photos, much like Apple’s Airplay. We were shown a demonstration of a user who was watching the latest Sherlock Holmes film on their Tablet PC (iPad or Windows/Android equivalent), whilst on a plane. The user paused the film midway when the flight ended and was able to resume it from the exact spot at home on their Xbox 360 console.

Again, the Smart Glass technology will allow us to expand on the television shows we are watching on our consoles, by showing us detailed information through our handheld devices.  A demonstration showed us a user watching the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones (yay!) whilst using their Tablet to view detailed information about the cast as well as maps and events from the world of Westeros.


The above are all excellent features for the film and game buffs among you, but there is one feature that has made every Xbox owner ecstatic. That is the introduction of an Internet Explorer web browser for the 360. How great is that?

The Smart Glass technology will allow Smartphones and Tablets to be used as controllers for the web browser which will become available to Xbox 360 owners later this year.

In A Nutshell

Xbox Smart Glass will make further in-roads to transforming what was once “just a console”, into a fully functioning, “one stop shop” for all of your entertainment needs. As a iPhone and iPad user, I am delighted to hear that we will get access to these features without having to purchase an approved Windows device.

I’m not entirely sure how much of the functionality that I will use in all honesty, but I think the addition of web browsing on the 360 has been a long time coming and will put a smile a lot of faces.

Check out the full Xbox Smart Glass briefing below.

How do you feel about these new developments? Will you welcome Smart Glass with open arms, or are you a Smart Glass skeptic? We’d love to hear from you.

Author: James Sterling

Associate Editor (Game) for PopBucket, avid gamer and educating folks about the Wilhelm Scream since '98. Show him some word-love.

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