Microsoft has announced that their Xbox SmartGlass app will be launching on Friday, a day after the global launch of their latest operating system Windows 8.
With the app, users’ phones and tablets will act as a remote control and a second screen for video games. “Use the touch screen on your smartphone or tablet to control your Xbox 360 and use your devices to pause, rewind, or advance entertainment,” Microsoft said in a statement.
But while the app will be available for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT, users of iOS and Android phones and tablets will not be able to use the app just yet – it will only be made available to those devices early next year.
Since it launches the same time as Xbox Video, users will be able to start a TV show or movie on their tablet and finish it on the big screen through Xbox 360. “Get real-time updates on the cast and crew for the film you are watching, discover related films, get unique bonus features with films from Xbox Video.”
In terms of gaming, only a limited number of games will support the app - and users will be able to use the application as a second screen to supplement the main title.
“Turn your phone or tablet into a virtual GPS in Forza: Horizon. Don’t stop the dance party in Dance Central 3 by going back to the menu to choose your next song. Instead, queue it up on your tablet or smartphone. In HomeRun Stars, use SmartGlass on your favourite device to throw a surprise pitch to your friend up at bat in front of Kinect. See detailed stats on how you are progressing in Halo 4, or check up on friends,” Microsoft said.
SmartGlass will connect the app/device with the Xbox as long as the two devices are on the same network, and an Xbox Live Gold subscription is needed for some SmartGlass features to work. It is also rumoured that the functionality of the iOS and Android app will be different to that of the Windows 8 devices.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor