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Microsoft just announced something called SmartGlass at E3 in Los Angeles on Monday, promising to bring together several key Microsoft products: its Xbox videogame console, tablets running the new Windows 8 operating system and Windows phone devices.
SmartGlass will allow a tablet or smartphone to stream media to a big screen controlled by the Xbox console. It also can augment videogames with additional information such as team formations in a sports game - and SmartGlass will be free and work with Windows phones, Windows 8 and other portable devices.
SmartGlass is a new app that turns your phone or tablet into another screen for your TV, another controller for a game, a companion feature for a show, a remote control for the Internet and more. More importantly, it'll work with iOS, Android and Windows, so you won't need to buy new hardware to fit into its ecosystem.
"We all go into our living room and have a touch surface like a phone or a tablet, but it has no idea what's occurring on the TV," said Don Mattrick, head of Microsoft's gaming business. The SmartGlass apps he said, by contrast will allow the Xbox to "communicate with whatever glass surface you have. ...All they do is download the app and it knits their content together."
The move poses a challenge to Nintendo's Wii U Game Pad and Apple's Airplay.
"Xbox SmartGlass works with all the devices that you already own: the TV you already own, the phone you already own and the tablet you already own," said Marc Whitten, head of Microsoft's Xbox Live division. Xbox SmartGlass turns any TV into a smart TV."
What if your tablet or phone knew what you were watching on TV and presented bonus features without you having to lift a finger? What if you could use your tablet to draw up a play in EA SPORTS’ “Madden NFL” and then perform it to perfection on your TV? What if you could control your favorite websites on the TV with a simple swipe, pinch or zoom on your tablet’s touchscreen?
The intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass makes your entertainment more engaging, Web surfing more effortless, and playing games more immersive by delivering companion content and control to enhance your TV experience.
“Xbox is on a mission to make the entertainment that you love even more amazing,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With Xbox SmartGlass, we are lighting up entertainment across your phone, tablet, PC and TV in a completely new way. If you love to play games, watch TV and movies, surf the Web, or listen to music, there has never been a better time to be on Xbox.”
Two years after the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360, Microsoft unveiled the next step in its journey to make Xbox synonymous with entertainment by unveiling Xbox SmartGlass, Internet Explorer for Xbox, and new TV, movie and music offerings.
The Web Transformed for TV
Microsoft will launch Internet Explorer for Xbox this fall in all countries where Xbox and Xbox LIVE are available. Through the power of Xbox, the magic of Kinect and the intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass, you will be able to surf the Internet using your voice on your Xbox 360 and navigate using your mobile devices for an incredibly easy Web browsing experience on the television. (2) Whether it is a new website you want to check out on the big screen, an HD video you want to share in your living room, or your favorite website you check daily and want to view in the 10-foot experience, you will have the power of the Web now on your TV.
Entertainment Keeps Getting Better on Xbox
Last year, Xbox added voice search powered by Bing and the power of Kinect, making it easier to find the entertainment you want. This year, voice search is expanding to 12 additional countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland.
Adding to the current catalog of customized sports, TV, movies and music apps from world-leading TV and entertainment providers, this year Xbox will continue to deliver all the content you care about in unique ways.
Your Home for Sports
Microsoft announced more must-have sports experiences and content coming to Xbox this year, further establishing it as the home for sports fans everywhere.
NBA Game Time with NBA.com League Pass Broadband (U.S.) and NBA League Pass (outside of the U.S.). Fans who subscribe to NBA.com League Pass Broadband will have access to hundreds of out of market live games (blackout restrictions apply in the U.S. and some international markets), plus highlights from around the league and up to the minute stats of your favorite players.
NHL GameCenter LIVE™ (Worldwide except Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden). Hockey fans will be able to enjoy every moment of the live action as it happens on the ice, with live games (out-of-market and blackout restrictions apply), more in-game interactivity, and replays and highlights on demand any time.
ESPN (U.S.). Later this year fans will enjoy 24/7 live programming through WatchESPN from ESPN Networks – ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3 and ESPN U. All the favorites, including “SportsCenter,” “SportsNation,” “The Mike and Mike Show,” as well as ESPN’s coverage of the NFL, MLB and the NBA, will be live on Xbox.
Xbox also announced regional sports provider SPORT1 coming later this year to Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
More TV and Entertainment
Microsoft also announced more than 35 new content partners launching on Xbox over the next 12 months, including:
Absolute Radio – U.K.
Ameba TV – Canada, U.S.
BreakMedia – Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., U.S.
Comedy Central Stand Up – U.S.
Comoyo – Denmark, Norway, Sweden
Corus Entertainment's Franklin the Turtle – Canada
GameSpot TV – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
Headweb – Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden
Indie Flix – U.S.
Machinima – All Xbox LIVE markets
Napster – Germany, U.K.
Nickelodeon – U.S.
Paramount Movies – U.S.
Picturebox – U.K
Quickflix – Australia, New Zealand
Rakuten ShowTime – Japan
Revision3 – Canada, U.K., U.S.
Rhapsody – U.S.
RTL XL – Netherlands
Slacker Radio – Canada, U.S.
SnagFilms – U.S.
Terra (Sunday TV) – Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico
The AOL On Network – Australia, Canada, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.
The Weather Channel – U.S.
The Whistle – U.S.
TOU.TV – Canada
TV3 – Spain
Twitch TV – U.S.
Univision – U.S.
Wuaki – Spain
Youzee – Spain
Xbox Music revealed
Microsoft showed a sneak peek of Xbox Music, an all-new music service coming to Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8-based devices.