Xbox Companion App coming Tuesday, December 6th

Hot on the heels of the Xbox 360 Dashboard update comes the Xbox Companion App for Windows Phone. The Companion App for Windows Phone is one of the first apps that will truly augment your Xbox 360 user experience, giving you a parallel method to effortless retrieve current information about media, in addition to selecting things to watch. From the Windows Phone Blog a few months ago:

  • "Finding Content: Just like on your Xbox, the Xbox Companion gives you instant access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace catalog of games, movies, music and TV shows. I used it to search “Featured Content” and pulled up the X-Men: First Class.
  • Learn more about what you’re watching, listening to, or playing: Once I found the movie and touched the movie tile, the Xbox companion app took me to an info page that has all the related details about. And the content is really rich, too – for example, when I swiped to the “cast” page and touched an actor’s name, like star James McAvoy, I was taken to other movies starring him. From there, I could easily learn more about the other movies, their cast, etc. It’s an infinite road of interactive content.
  • Control & Play: Once I selected the content and hit play, the Xbox Companion flips into “controller mode” in which I could navigate my Xbox, or control video playback of your video. The best part here is that controls are virtually instantaneous – easily as fast as using my controller or a TV remote."

We got to personally play with the app back in October at Nokia World and we were quite impressed with it. The main reason? It didn't feel gimmicky or something "cool but we'd never use" (like our front-facing camera on our phone), but instead it felt like an app that we would use a lot and for legitimate reasons. Combined with that Xbox 360 Dashboard update, which we've been rocking for a few weeks now, this mini-overhaul to the Xbox should be pretty killer for an already great system.

We'll keep our eyes peeled for it on Tuesday and in the meantime, you can check out our video hands on after the break.

Source: Major Nelson

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • I cant wait to see this in action on my ststem. I hope there will be a way I can use it on multiple units.
  • This is nice and a step in the right direction but I want to be able to play games where I use the phone as a controller!
  • I have been very anxious for this app for two reasons, neither of which I'm sure it will do: Use my phone's keyboard to input text in fields on the XBox. Use my phone to get to Netflix movies on the XBox.  
    I just haven't heard anything about being able to use the phone inside an app, so I'm starting to wonder if I'll be disappointed.  
  • Looks like a d pad in that video so, yes, you'd be able to navigate to Netflix or any other app at least using that.  As far as calling it up directly, dunno.
  • I haven't read about the keyboard but you can always get the keypad for the Xbox controller.
    As for the getting to other apps, including Netflix, here's a quote from Major Nelson's blog: "You’ll also be able to select a search result, and launch a movie, TV show, game or app on the connected console as well as play, pause, fw, rw the playing video or music on the connected Xbox,initiate media purchase and navigate your Xbox console with Windows Phone using the Xbox Companion."
  • @FatSon - I'm just worried that it is going to be Zune movies only...
  • We'll see tomorrow. It may only launch the app which is fine with me, honestly. Netflix was the first app to integrate with Kinect on the Xbox if I'm not mistaken. If it's not there day one, I'm willing to bet they will come up with a solution very soon. Soon is such a subjective word without a date and it's merely my own conjecture.
  • My guess is that the companion app will also work for the apps. The phone brings up controller buttons when you start a movie, for instance, that you can use to control the app.
  • From Larry Hryb:
    "Xbox Companion search powered by Bing. Search the unified Xbox catalog for movies, TV shows, music, games and apps using the Windows phone. View a detailed unified results page across all content providers. You can see recently played games and apps and browse the Zune video catalog"
    My hope: you can browse it all.
    My guess: once you're in app, you can browse it. 
    FYI about the update: if you have EPIX, make sure you enter your six digit code.  Looks like there are full length movies in the app.  Oh, and unless they update it, It looks like you can't sign into the dailymotion app with your site password.  I'd bet that they did that so you couldn't watch porn on the 360.  The real impact is that people (read: soccer moms) ROUTINELY flag videos for explicit content, even when it really isn't.  It's going to be very interesting to see how MS handles this one.  They didn't seem to come down on NetFlix for 'The Story of O' being on Watch Instantly. 
  • I hear you but you can plug in any usb keyboard to the 360 and use it, even wireless keyboards. 
  • This will offset my disappointment from AT&T not offering sharing to my Focus. :P
  • I already have my phone in my had pretty much 24/7. Glad I got a spare battery. This looks too cool!
  • I still don't see it on the marketplace...
  • yeah i dont see it either is it supposed to come at night or something?
  • What about the XBOX ... Has anyone seen the dashboard update? I'm at work for another 5 hours so as long as both show up in the next 5 hours, tonight should be fun. :)
    Looks like its delayed a bit. :(
  • It looks great, ive been using it for a few weeks now. Everything is so "squarey" I just love it. The interface and new options are a nice touch. Microsoft definintely has an "ecosystem" now. Everything is in one place and lokos gorgeous all together. Now we play the waiting game for windows 8.
  • I've also had access to the update for a couple weeks. The best thing about it IMO is voice cammands using Kinect. I LOVE being able navigate Netflix and Hulu with just my voice. This along with the ability to simply say "xbox pause" and other things really gets into you. I frequently feel the urge to say pause or something when I'm watching cable.
    Overall the Metro layout is very nice and gets you access to the things you want much more effeciently. The one downside I've seen is that advertisment tiles are MUCH more noticable than they were in previous dashboards. I guess this is a good thing and a bad thing but I just don't like looking at ads.
    I'm still waiting for that darn companion app though.
  • Reply when the app is available
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