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Nerd’s Corner: SmartGlass, swing votes on the sixth

7 November 2012 By Brent Girard, Columnist No Comments

Nov. 6 was a momentous date in our nation’s history.

Although our country is still divided, with many clinging to Playstation core values, Microsoft has released round two of its free killer app: Xbox SmartGlass.

Previously released for Windows Phone and Android, the new version now works on iOS devices so Apple fans can get in on the gaming action.

It links your Xbox 360 with your iPad or iPhone for cross-platform functionality.

From a utility standpoint, the iPad can be used to navigate the Xbox Dashboard by swiping and touching, and it also works as a keyboard for entering those pesky on-disc downloadable content codes.

Anyone who has used a joystick to find letters on the onscreen keyboard knows the frustration that comes with inputting 19-character codes before getting to play a new game.

You’ll save a lot of money from the controllers you won’t be throwing out of your seven-story dorm window.

Where the Xbox SmartGlass app really shines is its impact on the gaming experience.

Much like the upcoming Wii U’s Gamepad which works as a second screen to show your map or inventory without cluttering the main game HUD, the SmartGlass app enables you to have a more integrated, personal adventure.

For example, the highly anticipated and acclaimed game “Halo 4” (also released on election day) uses the SmartGlass.

Whenever you pick up a new weapon, a detailed description and graphic will be sent directly to the iPhone on your couch, like a Pokédex of sorts.

The SmartGlass promotional trailer shows, among other things, two people playing “Ascend,” and as the onscreen character delves deeper into the dungeon, the iPhone tracks and maps his path.

SmartGlass isn’t simply used for gaming.

It can also be used when listening to music or watching TV.

For example, if you’re a “Game of Thrones” fan then you know that the geography of the fictional world can sometimes be a bit confusing.

SmartGlass allows your iPad to show you on a map where exactly the characters are, and it moves with each scene so you get a better understanding of Westeros.

Playstation attempts to create this dual experience with its handheld touchscreen Vita, but Microsoft’s app is a much more versatile and polished tool.

(Plus, the Vita has no games—who would buy a Vita?)

SmartGlass isn’t the only thing Microsoft has up its sleeve.

Over the past year we’ve seen a surge of potential innovation, including DVR rumors for its next-gen console and a patent for new “wearable controllers.”

Xbox is all about interactivity. The folks there are always trying to make your home console more than just a gaming device.

It is an entertainment enterprise.

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