Microsoft Shows SmartGlass
By IAN SHERR
The Microsoft software, unveiled at the E3 videogame conference in Los Angeles on Monday, promises to bring together several key Microsoft products: its Xbox videogame console, tablets running the new Windows 8 operating system and Windows phone devices.
SmartGlass, Microsoft says, 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.
Microsoft says SmartGlass will be free and work with Windows phones, Windows 8 and other portable devices.
“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.”
He said Microsoft spent about a year developing SmartGlass, and that it will work with devices customers already own, including Apple Inc.’s AAPL +0.59% iPad and iPhone as well as devices that use Google Inc.’s GOOG +1.33% Android operating system, aside from Microsoft’s own devices.
“All they do is download the app and it knits their content together,” he added.
The Redmond, Wash., company’s efforts to expand its Xbox 360 game console come as Nintendo prepares to release its next generation Wii U game console later this year. The console, which has so far had mixed reactions from investors and industry analysts alike, includes a tabletlike controller called the Wii U GamePad. Nintendo says the device will use its touch screen and onboard sensors to interact with games.
There are existing products on the market that try to accomplish similar chores. Apple, for example, has a technology called AirPlay, which can stream video, music and images from an iPhone or iPad to an Apple TV. Read More