At Microsoft’s E3 press conference, they revealed an interesting new feature that will integrate smartphones and tablets to the Xbox 360. Called SmartGlass, this is designed to operate a second screen during games, movies, and TV shows. This means that hypothetically, a game could display a map on the tablet screen, or even integrate interactive game elements like maps and play-calling in sports games.
TV shows and movies will be able to provide supplemental information and features with SmartGlass as well. Game of Thrones was mentioned specifically as an application of SmartGlass. In fact, that may be the killer app for SmartGlass, considering that there’s no way to understand what’s going on in the show without consulting the internet! SmartGlass will also be able to control the upcoming Internet Explorer for Xbox.
Despite Microsoft trying to make their own imprint on the tablet market with Windows 8, SmartGlass is going to be platform-agnostic, with apps for iOS and Android, with support for both phones and tablets. This shows that Microsoft is a very segmented company, with their Xbox division potentially removing a valuable reason to get a Windows 8 device, as well as the fact that these non-Microsoft operating systems are so prominent that Microsoft has to play ball with them. No release date for SmartGlass is available yet, but it will likely be part of the fall Dashboard updates that Microsoft releases.