back to article WTF is... Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass?

Microsoft launches its Xbox 360 SmartGlass software today, a free app that allows the console's film, games and music services to be tapped from a mobile device. It becomes an informative second screen to display additional content, or simply acts as a helpful go-between twixt a user's console, mobile and PC platform. …


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  1. Harvey Trowell


    "Need to quickly drop the kids off at the pool for a swimming lesson? You can carry on watching a film on your Windows Phone 8 handset while you're waiting for them to come out."

    Dude, nobody needs to swing by El Reg first thing Friday morning only to be rewarded with the mental image of you pinching a loaf whilst watching Twilight on your Lumia. Thanks a lot.

    1. Wild Bill

      Re: Dude

      Ha, exactly what I was going to post about

    2. johnnytruant

      Re: Dude

      Well played sir. New keyboard invoice is in the post.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone want to bet on Sony releasing an Android/IOS version of remoteplay early in 2013

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Anyone want to bet on Sony having half these features avaliable on the PSVita already? Oh wait

  3. toadwarrior

    So rather than deny being in the same market as nintendo at first they're going to get right in on borrowing their ideas but also leave the xbox a complicated mess. Surely this renders kinect mostly useless...not that many people actually use kinect on their 360.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Actually, it seems more akin to what Sony did with the PSP and PS3 did years ago... the PSP would act as a rear-view mirror in Gran Turismo. The PS3 would also stream video to the PSP.

      And certain XBOX 360 games, such as Halo Reach, already have Android apps to give you, for example, live maps showing your team-mates' locations. Cheers Bungie!

      As for using the hot and loud XBOX for listening to music... no thanks.

      1. Epobirs

        When did you last see a new Xbox?

        Are you at all familiar with the current shipping model of the Xbox 360, which has been the standard for close to two years? It runs quite cool and makes little discernible noise.

      2. RICHTO

        Whereas Xbox driving games just provided rear view mirrors that worked...

        That PSP thing was a one trick wonder that no one used.

    2. Epobirs

      When did they ever do that?

      I don't recall Microsoft ever claiming they didn't compete for gaming consumers with Nintendo. But consider the range of features offered and it's obvious that Nintendo is the one playing catch-up. The Wii U will bring functions to a Nintendo console for the first time that have been standard on Sony and Microsoft gear for a generation.

      The first time I saw the Wii U demoed my first thought was that either of the two existing consoles could easily match that with just software. And that is exactly what is happening.

      Nor does this render Kinect obsolete. It's an entirely difference experience and set of inputs. In fact, the sensors in your phone could be used in coordination with the Kinect to allow still more the current model. Bringing in the better aspects of the PS3 Move and Wiimote while retaining the Kinect advantages. It's all fodder for the developers to run with. The big difference with Microsoft is they're seeking to use the stuff you likely already own, so they can focus on just selling software instead of a most costlier software/hardware combo.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forza Horizon

    ...isn't an open-world racer; it's full of invisible walls when you try and drive over stuff :(

  5. Joe K

    Utterly irrelevant

    By suddenly limiting it, against all promises up until a few days ago, to Windows 8 devices only they have ensured its utter failure.

    Developers will only assign resources to something that has a decent install base. If they had let the iOS version go they would have instantly had 100's of millions of users.

    But no, some idiot manager somewhere wanted another bullet-point for Win 8 phones, and doomed it.

    1. Richard 81

      Re: Utterly irrelevant

      Or indeed the Android version, which would give them even more users :P

      I didn't spot the 2013 date for these versions, so I guess I'll completely ignore this until then.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Utterly irrelevant

      Joe, W8 will overtake Linux as a home OS within about a day of launch. Mac within a month.

      And perhaps you might care to read the article where it clearly says it will be coming to other OS.

    3. Epobirs

      Re: Utterly irrelevant

      Actually, the Android version has already been out for a few days. I've had it on my Galaxy SII since Friday. You can't buy a Windows Phone 8 device yet, so it hardly appears Microsoft is playing favorites here. They shipped the stuff that is ready.

  6. Richard 81

    Actually, I approve.

    Being able to use more or less any smartphone as a universal remote sounds like a good idea to me.

    So far Apple, Sony and Nintendo only really work with their own proprietorial gadgets. If MS open up xbox compatibility and force others to do the same, so much the better for us. If this functionality required me to buy anything either MS made or running Windows, they could forget it.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Actually, I approve.

      I think you might need an XBox Richard.

      1. Richard 81

        Re: Actually, I approve.

        Yes. Thank you for that. I *do* own an XBox. I don't, however, want to have to buy a proprietary tablet or phone made by MS or running Windows to be able to use this feature. I already own perfectly good Android devises and I'm not going to buy anything else just for this.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Actually, I approve.

          This is just how things have always worked. Since when has every tech company supported everyone else's products?

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Actually, I approve.

      It's already available for Android... don't know if has the full functionality of the WinPhone version, though that would depend on new games (or downloadable updates) supporting it anyway. You can already get Android apps for specific Xbox360 games anyway- Bungie released one for Halo Reach that gives real-time maps.

  7. Shaun 2

    WTF is the point of WTF? Is anybody really that angry/surprised the the "TF" is really necessary? Is the reg trying to appeal to a younger audience with this use of language?

    Just stop, before I have to refer to urbandictionary every time I read a reg article.

    1. NumptyScrub

      quote: "WTF is the point of WTF? Is anybody really that angry/surprised the the "TF" is really necessary? Is the reg trying to appeal to a younger audience with this use of language?"

      I'm knocking on my 5th decade on the planet, and I can understand it easily enough. I only miss the "TF" off IRL if I'm in polite company, and in my experience that is quite a low percentage of people, even at boardroom level (maybe especially at boardroom level TBH).

      I guess it's mainly that I've had internets for decades, which has meant that I'm familiar with internets slang. YMMV

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        From The Thick Of It:

        "Get it done ASAFP!"

        "What does the F stand for?"

        "Feasibly, I assume"

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. 20legend

        IIRC TPB trial established that IRL was an outdated term, and that you should use AFK in its place.


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "IIRC TPB trial established that IRL was an outdated term..."

          That's what the guys who ran the Champ Car series thought, and look where it got -them-.

          </US Open-wheel motorsport joke that nobody will get>

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. CCCP

    But but, can you switch it on??

    I assume you can't turn on the Xbox with the phablet since the wifi reception is sleeping.

    Same 'feature' that makes the Samsung TV remote app useless.

    Like dogs licking their balls, they code these things because they can, not because it's a good idea.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: But but, can you switch it on??

      They could alter the Dashboard and the 360's standby mode to allow other forms of waking up.

      The could have a form of Wake-on-Lan system.

      IIRC the 360 wireless controllers operate on the Bluetooth wavelengths (as do the PS3 and Wii), just not on the same protocols. I wonder if it would be difficult to adopt some kind of Bluetooth link between the 360 and the phone/tablet enabling a wakeup.

      The IR port can wake up the 360. Some tablets (like some Samsungs) have IR ports and can act as remote controls.

      1. Epobirs

        Re: But but, can you switch it on??

        The Xbox 360 controllers can wake up the Xbox by pressing the logo button. So it becomes an issue of whether WiFi/Bluetooth equipped devices can be made to emit a compatible signal.

    2. 20legend

      Re: But but, can you switch it on??

      Agreed that not being able to turn the tv on with it is a pain, but unless that is the only function on a remote that you ever use I think its a bit strong to call it useless

  10. Rich 30

    no iPad?

    I thought this was going to work on iOS/Android from launch?

    As the sex pistols once sung - Liar, Liar Liar.

  11. The_Regulator

    The Cool Factor

    Damn you guys really have a complaint to make about everything and you crack me up how you say that the user base is limited, there are millions and millions more pc users (windows) than any other platform and probably ALL other platforms combined. There are also millions of xbox users. The consoles ps3 and xbox 360 currently and whatever new versions that launch over the next few years are becoming more and more of a focal point in the living room. I don't know about all you guys and girls but I have a ps3, a cable box and a hi definition tv in my living room nothing else no dvd player/bd player. When I want to watch movies I either stream it from my pc or I stream it from the net via my console and this type of useage is only going to increase over the short to mid term.

    Here's what's really cool with smart glass, I can decide what I want to watch on my tablet or phone instead of needing to use my ps3/xbox controller to navigate through more clumsily then I can switch the movie/show from the phone/tablet to my tv for everyone to enjoy. It makes my "jukebox" a lot more fun to use and then I can get automatic information sent to my phone or tablet while I am watching it too. The Reg comment you can just search imdb for information from your android or ios device = fail, wouldn't you rather have information automtically provided than having to focus on searching for it yourself........enough said.

    Don't get your panties in a bunch apple/droid users you will get access to this cool tech eventually or you could actually consider that perhaps someone else (msft) has something cool that you obviously want or you would not be complaining that it's not available for your device in the first place right.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you will get access to this cool tech eventually

    keep up

  13. ssu

    Thought it was just a gimmick but

    My Windows 7.5 phone (HTC Mozart) received the update to the XBox companion software last night so I thought I would give it a quick go. It seems to be quite useful for general navigation of the XBox. It's very good for using with the new IE XBox functionality where it acts as a mouse and a keyboard.

    So it's not just for Windows 8 as has been suggested and it seems quite good. I will probably end up just using it very occasionally to enter XBox Live codes as these are a pain using the normal controller. My usual phone is an Sensation which is waiting to be repaired so hopefully an Android release is in the pipeline, as was promised.

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