Recently at Microsoft’s E3 2012, a preview of an app was released that could potentially change the future of television and video gaming: Xbox SmartGlass.
What exactly is Xbox SmartGlass?
SmartGlass functions as an app for any mobile device, tablet, or PC that is compatible with Windows 8, and allows said device to act as a remote, or extension, of the Xbox. Pretty simple, right?
At first it looks like a remote for the Xbox eliminating the frustrations of searching for TV shows or movies using the controller.
Microsoft, however, has so much more in store for this little app.
Besides allowing a user to start a movie/TV show on the console and continue watching it seamlessly on their tablet or mobile device, Microsoft hopes to have it function as a second controller for video games and other multimedia experiences.
During TV shows, the show that was used in the preview was “Game of Thrones,” SmartGlass displayed a map of Westeros pinpointing exactly where each scene was taking place during the show and allowed viewers access to director commentary and extras that otherwise couldn’t be accessed.
Video games were also amplified with the app. During a game of Madden a player could view different plays with their tablet or phone. Inventories are also displayed, giving the video game more depth with the multiple screens.
Microsoft also announced that Internet Explorer would become available for the Xbox, granting the console a vast array of possibilities and the functionality similar to a computer. The mobile device in this instance would function as a computer mouse.
Is SmartGlass simply just a reboot similar to GoogleTV?
A little over two years ago Google announced a product that would make the TV function as a computer, opening the multimedia world and making it even more available to the public. There would have been a variety of apps, similar to the Android, that would allow viewers to find episodes of their favorite television shows and give a list of locations where the episodes can be viewed. Ex. Netflix, Hulu, or Youtube. Android owners would have also used their phones as remotes and sync their applications and favorites with this TV.
SmartGlass doesn’t require a separate cable box like GoogleTV did, but it does have the same idea: to connect all forms used to access social media all into one big pretty package wrapped up neatly with a bow, but is that a good thing?
It’s true that people consume social media outlets like air, which can be unhealthy, and this app would allow a user to access every form of multimedia from one place, feeding that addiction. It certainly is an interesting concept, one that folks will be curious to try at least once.
Everything today, based on the technology that is being released, is turning into a computer. Smart phones are essentially small computers, and that is exactly what SmartGlass is doing, turning the Xbox and the TV into one giant powerhouse of a computer. There is no reason to have a computer anymore with all of this technology being released. It’s worth checking out, with caution though. The more means there are, the more people will continue to feed the addiction that is social interaction/media.
Microsoft plans on releasing SmartGlass sometime before the end of the year,