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The Evolution and Future of Microsoft’s SmartGlass
Microsoft’s SmartGlass technology has come a long way over the past one and a half years. The application was released back in late October of 2012 alongside the release of Windows 8 OS and was set to be a companion application for the Xbox 360 and eventually the Xbox One. The app introduced some awesome new abilities for people who owned a smartphone and were able to use it as a remote for their Xbox. When paired with the console, users could control and navigate the dashboard, redeem codes, browse the web by using a trackpad feature and use the device as a keyboard, launch apps, control TV shows and movies, send messages to friends, and even allowed a Windows 8 device to be used as a second screen for the Xbox.
Though still in beta, the Xbox One SmartGlass application brings a massive overhaul to the original capabilities of the existing version. Users are essentially able to use their SmartGlass device as a complete universal remote through OneGuide. The Xbox One was released with the ambitious goal of becoming an elite multimedia center, and the SmartGlass update with further enhance the media accessibility and experience due to the ability to set/record shows on the SmartGlass device, while still simultaneously playing a game or watching a movie on the console itself. Users who use SmartGlass for their Xbox 360 will continue to get updates, but will eventually be capped in terms of performance, as the Xbox One allows for much faster connectivity and reliability. The new SmartGlass app also includes a new feature that shows recently-watched channels to make it easy to switch between them, which adds extreme convenience for those who enjoy actively watching different shows.
SmartGlass also hopes to be used largely in the gamin realm as well. Many upcoming titles have announced the functionality of the application like Fable Legends. Fable Legends announced that the SmartGlass application will be used by villain against the four heroes in an arena type of setting that is used to place traps, send waves of enemies, and many other anticipated features. Though almost all of the Xbox One games will be compatible with SmartGlass, it will be interesting to see if they adapt the application to the games in the same interactive format as Fable Legends hopes to.
At the end of the day, Microsoft and the Xbox team are doing all they can to further facilitate the functionality and promise surrounding the Xbox One. The Xbox management has undergone significant changes, which could be argued either good or bad, but with Phil Spencer as the new head of Xbox, he promises to add more gaming elements and focus on the gaming industry more than his predecessor had seemed to. With all the vast amounts of change coming, it will be exciting to see where the SmartGlass application will play its part in the evolution of the Xbox franchise.