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Microsoft at E3: Xbox SmartGlass and Xbox Music announced
What if your tablet or phone knew what you were watching on TV and presented bonus features without you having to lift a finger?
Sounds like science fiction, but with these latest announcements Xbox hope to make it even easier to enjoy games, music, television shows, movies and more on your TV, tablet or phone.
AP Photo, Damian Dovarganes
The Microsoft briefing at E3 2012.
With Xbox SmartGlass you will be able to control and interact with your favourite TV shows, movies and games, as well as use any Windows 8-based device as a second screen with your Xbox 360 console.
What is Xbox SmartGlass?
Microsoft's Xbox SmartGlass is an innovative new 'companion' app for Windows 8 tablets and mobile devices.
The idea behind SmartGlass is that of sharing and creating richer experiences by bringing together all of your devices so they complement each other.
During the Microsoft E3 press event numerous examples of this synergy were shown; for instance, you start watching a movie on your tablet and with one tap you can transfer the movie to your TV screen. Magic. The movie will even pick up from where you left off...
Xbox SmartGlass: Start watching on one of your devices and flick it to your TV to keep watching on the big screen.
An 'intelligent companion' for your living room
Using Xbox SmartGlass you will also be able to view DVD-style bonus content, control Xbox games and surf the web using a special version of Internet Explorer (modified for Xbox).
When it comes to gaming you can use Xbox SmartGlass in one of two ways: both turn your Windows 8-based devices into a second screen, but one will function as a controller and the other will use your screen to display supporting game content (plan your tactics before waging into battle, arrange your team formation etc.)
You could be Watching Game of Thrones on your TV while your tablet delivers additional interactive material during the running time. Microsoft used a demo of Game of Thrones at E3 to simultaneously show the characters onscreen and a map of their journey using Xbox SmartGlass on a tablet.
A Kinect-enabled version of Internet Explorer is coming soon to Xbox.
Internet Explorer for Xbox confirmed
Web browsing doesn't need to be confined to your PC, laptop or tablet. Microsoft's Xbox 360 will get full web browser experience with Kinect support, so you can use your voice to explore your favourite sites on the biggest screen in the house.
Internet Explorer on Xbox will be SmartGlass enabled meaning you can use your phone or tablet to type and control your web experience.
Access your music collection from any screen with Xbox Music.
Xbox Music - a rival to 'iTunes'?
Microsoft also provided an early glimpse of Xbox Music, an all-new music service coming to Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8-based devices.
Xbox Music includes a music store for song downloads/streaming, a music subscription offering, artist-based radio and a great cross-screen client for your personal music collections.
Xbox Music will boast a library of over 30 million tracks at launch.
Xbox Music has been designed to provide you with access to your music collection from any screen, so support for Windows 8 PC's, Windows Phone or other Windows 8-based devices are a given.
Xbox SmartGlass and Xbox Music will available later this year for Windows 8 PCs/tablets and Windows Phone. Support for iOS (iPhone, iPad) and Android platforms is also expected too.