Xbox 360 SmartGlass Makes Its Way to Android

Xbox 360 SmartGlass Makes Its Way to Android

Oct 30, 2012

With the new Xbox Dashboard rolling out around the world, it’s time for the world to finally experience SmartGlass, originally announced at E3. While reports were that the Android version was far off, it turns out they were wrong as the Android version of SmartGlass is available now, and I’ve taken it for a test run.

First off, device availability is somewhat limited, apparently to only certain smartphones. Microsoft claims that it’s “available for most Android 4.0+ smartphones, with WVGA screen resolution or higher.” Nexus 7 owners weep bitterly as it’s currently officially unsupported. There’s a limited selection of games and movies that take advantage of SmartGlass as a second screen, but what’s available now is the remote control of an Xbox. No more looking for that remote or turning on a controller when trying to watch Netflix!

Setup is easy: just log in with the same Live ID as is set up on the Xbox’s currently-logged-in profile, and access is granted. Recent games are available, new games and media can be searched for, and played back on the Xbox. Users can customize their profiles, including their bio and motto, and most importantly: avatar customization! Buying new items has to be done on the Xbox itself, as while customization can be done while the Xbox is off, there’s no way to actually buy things from the app. Messages can be sent to friends. The phone can work as a software keyboard for the Xbox, making text typing just that much easier. Also, menus can be easily navigated using the app.

The peanut butter to Xbox’s chocolate is clearly Internet Explorer. Seriously, through some light testing of this browser, it’s actually rather capable! It’s built for the 10-foot experience, it supports mobile websites as a backup to clunkier desktop ones, and it just overall has the feel of Microsoft legitimately putting some work in to it. Don’t let the bad memories of the PS3 browser sour the experience of Internet Explorer on the 360. Don’t let the name signal bad things, either!

But where SmartGlass on Android comes in is that it serves as a remote mouse and keyboard. The Android device can serve as a mouse by swiping around with the finger, tapping to click links. A scroll bar is available down the right edge of the screen. A software keyboard pops up when typing in URLs or forms. Most interestingly, it’s possible to open up links on the phone’s browser by tapping the ‘download’ button.

While its core functionality really just expands what the My Xbox Live app did earlier this year, it’s still an extremely handy tool for Xbox owners. SmartGlass is available from Google Play.

My Xbox Live Arrives on Android, But Missing New Features

My Xbox Live Arrives on Android, But Missing New Features

Jun 14, 2012

Microsoft has released their My Xbox Live app for Android devices at last. This is designed to let Xbox Live users access their account and see the latest information on Xbox 360 from anywhere. USers sign in with their Xbox Live account information (note that a button has to be pressed at the launch of the app every time, though it will only ask for accoundt info on initial login), and this grants them access to various featues on their account. A spotlight with videos from Xbox are available, showing trailers and upcoming Xbox features. The social tab lets users see their online friends, check and send messages to other Xbox Live users, and check the game beacons that their friends are sending out. Thy can also check the achievement progress in their recently-played games. It’s possible to edit one’s avatar as well, in case the desire to dress up as Tails, or add an arrow to one’s knee, strikes.

The app is sadly lacking some of the features from iOS version’s latest update, including direct control of some Xbox apps, with a virtual controller to navigate menus. Yes, Android apps lacking the features of their iOS counterparts is not a new thing, but when a feature-deficient Android app comes out the same day as an iOS update? That just seems particularly insulting.

Note that this is not that SmartGlass app that was teased at E3 by Microsoft, just a companion app designed to make Xbox users more in touch with their accounts while on the go. My Xbox Live is a free download from Google Play. Note that the app can be downloaded on some tablets, but won’t actually run on them, as an alert pops up saying that the app won’t work that well on the device. Seriously. Oh, Microsoft.