Microsoft unveils Xbox SmartGlass at E3 to bring the living room TV to life

Microsoft held a fairly eventful press presentation at this year's E3, which saw the company unveil new services related to their best selling game console - the Xbox 360. More on these new services later, for now let's get through Xbox SmartGlass. As we previously covered, Xbox SmartGlass will connect the gaming console to other devices, including Windows 8 and Windows Phone as well as competitor platforms (Android and iOS). Think of the Xbox Companion app, but on steroids.

Apps developed for all supported platforms will enable users to control their Xbox 360 and interact with services on the big screen. Microsoft is attempting to transform the bog-standard home television into a Smart TV with the power and connectivity to pull down rich media content from the Internet. As mentioned above, SmartGlass will work with other Windows platforms, but will also be available for iPhone / iPad and Android devices. 

Example: should you happen to be watching a movie while on the go and would like to continue where you left off on the big screen, SmartGlass will enable you to resume the video on the Xbox 360. Gaming will also be taken to a new level with integrated through SmartGlass. A short demonstration was provided in the presentation with the upcoming title Halo 4. Halo Waypoint will come into play by offering lore information on in-game elements, as well as turning the mobile device into a companion device with match requests from friends being accepted on the handset, and then synchronised while in-game on the Xbox.

Internet Explorer was last to be announced with SmartGlass. The Xbox console will soon sport its own web browser, but instead of using the controller to navigate through the web, which could cause issues, Microsoft will use SmartGlass to allow users to choose Kinect or support mobile devices. Check out the video below for a quick run through of everything announced for SmartGlass.

Watch out for the release of SmartGlass sometime later this year. Be sure to check out our updates from the floor at E3 2012 where our Daniel Rubino and Paul Acevedo will continue to hunt down the latest news.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • why connect with those idiots androids or iPhone users. I would even give them a chance. Also they know they dont have gaming and most of them wish they had a great game console like Xbox360
  • I just hope they don't eventually offer Xbox live games on android & iphone. That would suck donkey ass.
  • I agree! This should only be for Windows Phones.
  • Jesus Christ. I wish you worried about your customers (WP7) owners as much as you did your competitors. This is ridiculous.
  • This is MS way of introducing the power of MS products to users that don't know about what you can do with Xbox WP and Win 8. This is brilliant, you have to look at it this way.... After using Smart Glass a MS product on IOS or Android the next time those people go buy a smart phone or tablet etc... There really going to think about how awesome MS products are and leave IOS or Android. Remember that IOS and Android own a lot of market share and what better way to tap into this share through Smart Glass and other MS products being shared to multiple platforms.
  • Yep, MS has pretty much explicitly stated this is their strategy. How are you going to win over locked in android or apple users if you don't show them first hand how awesome your products are. At first I didn't like it but now I understand, this is the move a company makes when they are confident in their new direction and want their products to stand on their own merits.
  • yeah, right but, the only problem is... MS is giving iOS & Blandriod users this function with this, so these users will have no reason to leave iOS or Blandriod for a Win8 tablet or Win phone...
  • Mac users have Office too, what's your point? Or do you love the way apple do business so much you want smartglass to be an airplay copy? The reason airplay and imessage will never win is because they are both apple only.
  • See that were you are wrong. MS has a Patton on the metro interface. Xbox is all about metro live tiles just like on W8 and WP. You will only get that experience with Windows products. Once you experience metro on Xbox and Smart Glass your going to want to get the full experience. This is what is going to make IOS and Android users switch to the MS ecosystem. Its kinda like how Apple's "I" affect had to people. I really don't know how anybody can small talk what MS is doing. We should all be embracing MS no matter what OS you use or like. This is the stuff that advances technology. In the end we all benefit from all this MS goodness.
  • Can someone ban this fanboy?
  • Why? Because some carriers ( actually most ) don't carry windows phones. I'm with tmobile and I'm stuck with a 2 year old phone HD7. I have a 900 and a titan 2 but I can only use them for WiFi. You can't unlock the Nokia lumia 900 and the titans mms want work on tmobile. I'm tired of waiting on ms to work a deal to get a top notch phone on tmobile. I will hate it but I'm getting the Samsung note defiantly with this announcement. I will miss windows terribly. I just need a large screen with 4G on tmobile. Since ms isn't getting nothing for tmo I have no choice. This Xbox glass will make the switch acceptable.
  • So are you seriously implying iPhone or Android owners dont own gaming consoles? Why is it a requirement that you have to buy into ecosystem all the way in order to use any of the products or services?
  • I watched this live on TV.  Is the "smart glass" a separate app from the xbox companion or an updated added feature to the companion app?
    They didn't really touch if it was going to be a brand new add or not...I would assume it will be brand new because they said all along "Xbox Companion is WP7 exclusive"...if they change the name and increase the functionality it still doesn't change that their earlier comments are still accurate.  I hope it comes to WinPhone 1st at least...worst case is we actually have to wait LONGER for it.
  • Xbox companion will become Smart Glass.
  • If you are a college student and you want a good deal I just got free Xbox with the purchase of laptop on sale at Microsoft, FYI it is only the 4gb but still good deal
  • I saw the guy using a lumia to navigate the internet explorer but made no point about talking about it. Guess they want to avoid wp7, show it off with wp8
  • They weren't there to advertise the phone. They were advertising smart glass. To be honest, I was surprised MS actually used the Lumia 900 at all in the videos and demonstrations. Either way it was a good look for the Nokia Lumia 900 cause even though it wasn't the focal point, it still was seen by millions. That's all that matters at the end of the day. Any exposure is better than no exposure at all
  • +1
  • Wow, Microsoft labs have been burning the midnight oil. Airplay meet your daddy.
  • You got that right!
  • AIrplay ain't got nothin on this.  I admire Airplay a lot, but this is far beyond as it is way more useful, and is not only for one manufacturers products. 
  • Lmaooo nicely put!
  • And so the whole concept of Windows Phone being the 3rd screen in Microsoft's ecosystem dies, and all because Microsoft screwed it up from the beginning with no advertising and taking their sweet time to update the OS. Now competing OS's are on an equal footing, and the reasons to buy a WP are getting less and less, with even MS's divisions preferring competitors mobile systems. Probably topped off by telling current WP users to Ef off and buy a new device for WP8, all while google and apple use MS's own servies to make their own platforms more attractive. Bunch of complete morons.
  • We hear you man....we hear you
  • Its all about money, man...if they can't get those android and apple users to jump ship, they want to at least make them buy a XBOX..anyway to make them bye Microsoft, not just windows phone...hopefully they make the integration better on WP...
  • Maybe they provide the SmartGlass stuff free on Microsoft products but charge for other platforms. If that is the case they would make money either way. I think they understand that millions of people own non-MS devices and aren't going to trade them in just for SmartGlass. They know that people will look to upgrade after a few years and I think are hoping to reel them in slowly over time. MS was slow to enter the consumer tablet and consumer phone businesses so a new strategy is required.
  • Dude stop complaining! I think MS would know what they're doing since they have far more experience in software than you or anyone else on here does.
  • If this works smooth, I will be like playstation who? Shout to all the PS users who were hanging on PS balls because it could browse...ha!
  • I'm still confused as to how this will work exactly. Will this work on content local to the phone or tablet or only on videos/music on xbox live? Airplay lets me push whatever's on the phone to the tv through Apple TV. If this is only meant for content on Xbox Live, it's not nearly as useful for me. I need to be able to push music and video stored on my phone to the xbox. That'll get it on-par and beyond the apple tv in this regard.
  • From my understanding, all your content will go through your account. Remember MS slogan " no compromise" I guess some things are being kept secret.
  • Sweet jesus some of you need to get over yourselves.  Did you guys forget the part were MS is a SOFTWARE company? Making this app availibe across all platforms is good for the XBox and for Windows and won't adversly hurt the sales of WP8 or Windows Tablets.
  • Thank God you set me straight. Thanks
  • Agree
  • Guys yous are missing the point. If MS want their services to totally succeed they have to be able to work on everything. Wish they had have announced Xbox music for other platforms too.
  • I won't cry foul unless the versions on other platforms are superior. Unlike the more feature laden apps on other platforms which had a head start, there will be no reason why the wp8/w8 versions won't be better. With the MS line of products, the MS devices can have support baked in at an OS level, and so the backend awareness between the Xbox and WP8/W8 device can be more constant and connected. On putting it on other platforms, I don't see the problem in putting it in as many hands as possible. Sometimes we need to get over ourselves, or else when we ask our phone which is the best, it'll tell us we're stupid for asking that.
  • I'd make Android/iOS pay a premium compared to WP7 or 8.
  • Well windows mobile didn't sell like ios and they still supported it so in Microsoft mind WP is a blazing success already.
  • Have most of you been sucking lemons all your lives, because honestly, that's what it sounds like. So what if Android and iOS users get given an app by a major software company, how foes that negatively affect you?
    I knew there were fanboys here but seriously, some of you need to take a step back and get a grip!