SmartGlass Debuts at Electronic Entertainment Expo

Microsoft Corp. has unveiled SmartGlass, an application that works with Windows 8 in order to link tablets and smartphones up with Xbox so that users can access videogames, TV shows and movies through the console.

The new technology debuted Monday at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Microsoft hopes to take the capabilities of pre-existing technologies, such as Apple’s AirPlay or HBO Go, and put them together into this one easily accessible app. The company also hope to create new uses for this technology.

SmartGlass will be free and accessible as long as a user has the right hardware.  It is expected to be available in fall, around the same time that the finalized version of Microsoft 8 is supposed to be released. The app will be accessible to Apple tablets and phones, Android devices and Windows computers.

The key to this innovation is that it will allow tablet users to enjoy improved graphics capabilities in order to break away from the casual, simple gaming and entertainment that usually accompanies tablet use.

Jason Della Rocca, video game consultant and the founder of Perimeter Partners, reportedly expects that this technology will create an increasing competitiveness between Xbox and the iPad.

Both Della Rocca and Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft Montreal, were quoted as saying that despite the immergence of this new technology, it is likely that there will still be an industry for videogame consoles.

Regardless of the true outcome, the gaming console will remain to be a key part of SmartGlass use simply because it is central and necessary for the connectivity of the different electronic devices.

SmartGlass technology still has some growing to do, however.  For instance, DVD second screen functions have not yet been mastered so, as of now, video content will need to be downloaded or streamed by SmartGlass supported apps.  In addition, tablets predating Windows 8 will not have access to SmartGlass.

Paramount films are among the first to become accessible through SmartGlass. Work is still being done to create compatibility with other films and games.

MarketResearch.com is predicting that SmartGlass technology will reach almost $4.2 billion in global revenue by the year 2016.