JACK OF ALL TRADES Microsoft is previewing an update to its Xbox games console that unites the hardware with telephones and tablets.
Microsoft has started rolling out an update to the Xbox 360 today that will boost its entertainment services with a new music feature. In addition, said Yusuf Mehdi, chief marketing officer for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Division, it is launching Smartglass.
"We are bringing Xbox Entertainment off the console to your phone, tablet and PC to deliver great games, music, TV and movie experiences. And as a part of this effort with Xbox Smartglass we are going to introduce amazing multi-screen entertainment experiences," he said.
"While our success with Xbox to date has been led by a box in the living room, we're now reaching individuals in new and exciting ways across PCs, tablets and phones. Xbox will be a gateway to the best in movies, TV shows, music, sports, your favorite games and instant access to your friends, wherever you are."
Smartglass will let you control your console from another device, like a Windows based phone or Surface tablet. The launch of Smartglass is a reflection of how, with the launch of new services like the Music feature, the Xbox 360 is moving away from being merely a games console.
"We live in a multi-device world. The millions of people enjoying entertainment on their Xbox are doing so within arm's reach of another device," said Mehdi. "Xbox Smartglass is a great example of our approach to multi-screen entertainment."
Smartglass is a free app that will be available on Windows PCs and IOS and Android devices, and will let users navigate their Xbox 360 consoles without picking up their console controller. It will also let devices work together, meaning that if you are watching content on your Surface tablet and stop, you will be able to continue watching it from the same point on your Xbox.
Medhi said that sports fans can also, for example, follow the action live on one screen while enjoying stats and graphs on another.
Smartglass will launch alongside Windows 8 this week. µ