What is SmartGlass and How Will It Change the Way We Watch Movies and TV?Mike Sampson |
Microsoft announced a breakthrough new technology titled SmartGlass at E3 but what exactly is SmartGlass? Well, for starters, it's pretty awesome and it will change the way you watch movies and TV.
SmartGlass, despite its catchy name, is actually not a new type of material but actually an app that you download to your smartphone or tablet. It will be available on a variety of platforms from iOS and Android devices and will connect your device to the Xbox 360. And as you're watching a compatible movie or a TV show, your SmartGlass enabled device essentially becomes a second remote control. Sound confusing, redundant and unnecessary? Hold on, there's more...
During it's keynote address, Microsoft used HBO's 'Game of Thrones' (available on Xbox 360 via HBO GO) as an example. As an episode played on screen, a SmartGlass tablet displayed a 3D map of Westeros, detailed character genealogy, commentary from the episode's writers and director and much more. Think of it as a HUD for your movies and TV.
SmartGlass works for movies as well. Microsoft used 'School of Rock' as an example. Curious choice, but OK. The tablet pops up character information as the character enters a particular scene. And let's say you like 'Anchorman' but only want to watch the scenes with Brick Tamland - you can skip ahead to scenes that only feature that character. And if you have to run to work, you can swipe the movie onto your tablet, watch during your commute, then swipe back onto your TV when you get home at night.
Now movies and TV are not the only thing that SmartGlass is useful for. You'll be able to use it to work with your favorite video games. SmartGlass, for example, will allow you to draw up a play in Madden '13 with your touchscreen and immediately use it in the game. It will also work with Internet Explorer, now available on Xbox 360, making your tablet or phone a powerful mouse.
This is just the beginning of what SmartGlass can bring us and as more partners come on board with Microsoft to develop unique content. The app doesn't launch until this fall giving Microsoft and its team plenty of time to figure out exactly what to do and us plenty of time to wonder when we'll finally be able to use it.