When Microsoft first announced its Smartglass technology at E3, I figured it would end up like the console's video marketplace, or Facebook application. A neat idea for the guys in marketing, but wholly uninteresting for the average user.
A few weeks in and I'm glad I've been proven wrong.
I've got the app installed on my Windows 8 PC, my iPad and HTC One XL, and while the phone version works well enough, it's on the tablet that the application really shines (the PC version would be great on a laptop, I guess, but on my desktop it's kinda useless).
While Smartglass retains the basic Xbox Live functionality of Microsoft's previous app, like access to messages, achievements and your friends list, it comes into its own when it's acting as an extension of your controller while you're consuming media on your console.
If you see an app, game or program on your tablet's screen, tap it and your console will boot straight to it. No more navigating through the console's laborious dashboard. It can also handle neat little touches like entering codes, giving you a touch-screen keyboard to type on instead of fudging through the console's d-pad option.
As far as aiding your gameplay, options are sadly limited right now. Forza Horizon has some cool map stuff, while Halo 4 gives you the game's Waypoint service on a screen right in front of you. And that's about it.
But the app is free, and seeing as I'm often nursing my tablet while on the couch watching TV (I watch a lot of catch-up TV on my 360) anyway, having an app like this to make things faster and easier is great.
Smartglass is currently available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Windows 8.
Xbox Smartglass [Microsoft]