3 Screens, 1 Voice: How Windows and Xbox are merging

Xbox SmartGlass is Microsoft’s strategic move against Apple’s Airplay system (and preemptively against Google TV); it’s an evolution for your Windows Phone, Windows Desktop and Windows 8 Tablets. Why is it the evolution? Because Microsoft’s ecosystem is growing and they are focusing on inter-connectivity with all of their devices (and even those outside of their branding).  No phone left behind, no tablet ignored, no Desktop chained down. Windows 8 is bringing a fresh look and giving users a better feeling experience while they use these devices. 

Microsoft is effectively making their move to make your involvement a complete one with any of their devices. It’s a smart move because Windows 8 may be challenging for some people to learn and get used to. SmartGlass will give people the confidence in Windows 8, that it will not be another Vista, it is changing for the better. It's a straight up consumer feature.

Here’s the breakdown on how each device will pair with Xbox SmartGlass:

  • If you are using a Windows 8 tablet, and are watching a video, you can pause on your tablet, and continue on your Xbox. The Tablet then becomes a companion device streaming live information about the movie you are watching, giving you access to the behind the scene details
  • When you are playing a game, like the new Madden for Kinect, your Tablet can be used to make plays and actually play the game
  • Your Windows Phone will do the same as the tablet, but there wasn’t any information that you will be able to control games with it, which is a little disappointing but I am sure more information will be released as we get closer to Windows Phone 8
  • Use your phone to scroll web pages when using Internet Explorer for Xbox
  • Your PC will be able to put up content to your Xbox, via video hubs, and also act as a companion device as well (but there was no demo, so we must assume there will be a few limitations when comparing using your windows phone or windows 8 tablet with SmartGlass)

Everyone knows about Apple TV and Airplay, but you need to buy separate devices and even then it is limited on how they interact. Airplay only mirrors your iPhone or iPad device but with SmartGlass your devices are much more than a mirror they become another opportunity for anyone to gain more content and control your Xbox. Everyone has an Xbox, and if you don’t, you’ll be needing one because SmartGlass is giving you what you always wanted; any Windows 8 Device to control and give you more information about what you’re watching on your Xbox.

This is great to see since Microsoft is adding more and more content to the Xbox Live experience, enhancing it to be your only multimedia device in your living room. As our culture gains more momentum in consuming content through the internet people are okay with paying for streaming services instead of traditional cable or satellite. Microsoft is giving the consumer the opportunity to have any kind of connected device they want, and their content will be available on all of it.

It's a smart step by Microsoft for growing their brand, and using it to its fullest potential. Needless to say, we like the future...

  • As far as WP is concerned we need more great exclusive services that can be used as selling points. MS seems to want everybody to stick with what they have.... But, I do understand the importance of the cross platform work for Xbox. It's a separate entity for MS, and it needs to stay competitive for its own preservation.
  • It's not a separate entity, is part of the same ecosystem, and part of the same division, in fact there are more Xboxes than WPs.
  • I agree, but I'm just saying that it's important for Xbox to be extremely diverse if it's to continue to get into more living rooms.... But you're saying it's not its own division? That doesn't sound right. But, then again what do I know.. Lol
  • Yeah, it's the same division, and its brand (Xbox) is quite strong, hence the drop of Zune for it. Then again, exciting times for our ecosystem of choice, just wished MS went more global, I mean in this day and age they must wake up for stuff like mobility, why can't I use English language if I go to work to a France or something like that. Those little details bothers me oh so much...
  • I mean, use whatever language I want with Kinect, independently of where I am.
  • Where is youtube on xbox
  • There's already an app for it on xbox
  • As far as I know, it is on xbox where it has always been - the apps marketplace. I use it frequently
  • it is there but you need a gold pass.
  • There's already a YouTube app on the Xbox  360.
  • I really like this whole SmartGlass thing and cant wait for it to come out. I do hope that atlesst as mobile phones go they'll find a way to make using a windows phone to do this a better experience then on IOS or Android. They need to differentiate out window phones in some kind of awesome way
  • Like an Xbox acting as an htpc? That would be neat.
  • Am I the only one who wished it was the other way around... to use the xbox as a server (connecting 2 or 4To hdd...) to push content to connected devices... to be able to play games (and I really mean games, like remotefx stuff) and content from any tablet or phone in your house...
  • What I would love to see is Xbox Entertainment apps available on your Windows Phone and Windows PC. For example the UFC app. I want to be able to make bets directly on my phone.
  • This is awesome smart move. Let's see if apple or android will copycat. Shows you why Microsoft is still more innovative than Apple or Google
  • It's even written in this article that MS is copycating Apple here (AirPlay). Plus with Aplle's new TV the whole industry will rapidly change. Again.
  • Once again WP is not given any prominence by Microsoft and offers little, if any advantage over the established platforms. Seems Microsoft is intent on ignoring every opportunity to put their own OS first in favor of others.
  • We've got Xbox live, so we can get achievements on the go. That's a bit better than others.
  • Xbox Live has been sh&t on WP so far.
  • I still want Windows 8 on Xbox 360.
  • Well I guess im getting an Xbox. Solution to that puzzle made easy by microsoft. I wonder if they'll make one that looks more like a DVD player... Im more of a home theatre person.
  • It should look more like an apple tv, for those who just want to browse, listen to music, stream movies or use the apps.
  • Please.  You don't even know what Apple TV will be.
  • Windows phone is Microsoft bastard child........speaking as someone with a WP ...they are taking a wait and see approach.
  • Don't be silly, this show is very gaming centric, in fact, if you go to gaming sites you can read people moaning about too much non-gaming news.
    This show has been for the last decade very Xbox, and it is supposed to be mainly about Xbox.
  • Mobile gaming in general gets the shaft at E3, historically. This year is slightly different.
  • While I am stoked for this functionality and glad to see it come - I can't help but point out that Airplay's "mirroring" is quite nice.  Maybe I missed it, but it'd be great to have this feature as well.  Nothing like being able to shoot anything you are viewing on your phone to a connected device (Xbox) to your TV.  Not to mention, mulitple Airplay device can create whole house audio even.  I have 3 Xbox's - would love for them to play music at the same time.
    From what I can tell, is that SmartGlass does something of the sort but it seems that you must be viewing something from the marketplace for this to work properly?  What about my own material?
  • Fantastic new features :) I really need a completely silent xbox720 now to enjoy my movie collection.
  • Ok, this is all great in theory.  If it actually works and key developers are on board to make apps truly integrated and compatible, this will be wonderful.  For example...xbox companion for WP was great in theory but it's really just an extra remote controller (which, to its defense, is pretty nice).  I'm tired of all the future, pie-in-the-sky talk.  This said by a person who loves WP.
  • I'm wondering what they are gonna do about the Zune on Windows Phone? It'll be lame if they call the player in Windows Phone "Xbox music"
  • Agreed. I would really like if they made all the music in my xbox/windows 8 music hub available (via 4g) to play on a Windows Phone anywhere I go. THE LOCAL STORAGE LIMITATION HAS TO GO!!
    You know what...they will probably just call it something simple like "Music" to go along with People, Messaging, Email, Pictures, etc.
  • I hope too that the Zune interface stays, and they should call it the media or music hub, instead of Zune or xBox music
  • What about SkyDrive on Xbox?
  • Really impressed. THIS is what MS needs to do. Have comparability seamless across the board. Allowing other devices to also have smartglass is also a good move as it gets others to buy an XBOX and purchase XBox movies, games, and music. Should be a fun Fall for me!
  • "No phone left behind" - now that would be a cool line for announcing the availability of WP8 to first gen devices!
  • I like that tag line
  • Microsoft always plays the long term strategy card.
    They want to change the perception of consumers about their brands, and that can't be achieved by releasing smartglass as a WP and W8 exclusive. 
    Catch the audience and the Microsoft haters by surprise by showing a product that works even on their devices ie. android and iOS. They will slowly convert but that's exactly what Microsoft is aiming for.
    One issue I have though, I hope smartglass won't be just a gimmik that you try once and then never use.
    PS3 had this kind of feature with their PSP, where you can for example use the PSP as a mirror whilst playing F1 which was amazing when they showed the feature and it was so inovative but nothing was ever achieved with this. I have tried it once and there is literally no point especially since Game Developers don't think out of the box and make inovative uses of it.
  • BTW: BGR reports that Microsoft has finished the work on the iOS version of MS Office and it will be released soon. Android version still needs a bit more work but is also almost finished!
  • I hope we see this used well in non-MS published game titles.
  • People must know that this is NOTHING new right?  Just rebranded technology?
    SmartGlass = Smart Display = Media Center Extender = Remote Desktop (at its core)
    They may have to do some additional work here and there, but the core tech is already there, many many years ago.
    Granted, MSFT has to be given props for already having all this implemented eons ago, and I am interested to see how well they can execute on remaking this tech useful again.  But it is also something that bugged me from this year's MS E3 announcement, there are basically nothing new, it's all rehashed... 
    It's not like the unveiling of Kinect/Dance central, for example.  Now, we get, sequels after sequels, rebranding of stuff, repurposed technologies...   Pretty weak in my opinion :( 
  • while I agree with some of the things you're saying, I disagree too. my problem with what  you're saying is that sometime tech comes out prematurely such as the Dell streak....essentially the Samsung Galaxy Note is a rehash of the Dell Streak mobile devices, which noone will admit. Apple TV, Google TV or whatever they call it, and in a sense even TV/Internet on Xbox are re-hashes of internet TV from at least a decade ago with added features. I remember internet tv where you had a keyboard you could use to surf the web years ago.