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Microsoft shows new second screen app, new games at E3

Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass will allow mobiles and tablets to interact with Xbox entertainment

Microsoft shows new second screen app, new games at E3
Xbox SmartGlass will allow tablets and smartphones to integrate with Xbox games and services.

Microsoft has unveiled a new application to allow mobile devices to interact with Xbox and the television.

The Xbox SmartGlass app will enable devices such as tablets and smartphones to interact with the games console in a variety of different ways, such as acting as an additional games controller or as a display for interactive TV content.

Microsoft says the technology will enable a second screen experience, with the connected device providing complementary information and interaction with whatever entertainment is being shown on the main screen through the Xbox.

"SmartGlass takes all of your devices and first makes them all work together, and second works in concert with your Xbox to unleash a whole bunch of new scenarios," Yusuf Mehdi, chief marketing officer for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business says. "Imagine being on the couch and watching a show or a game and having your tablet suddenly light up with information, and as things occur in the show, the tablet updates. It's really, really cool.

The technology was shown at the E3 expo in the US, where Microsoft demonstrated several SmartGlass usage scenarios. A SmartGlass enabled tablet was shown acting as a remote control and keypad for TV and Xbox services; to provide additional information such as maps and character stats while playing a game, and showing interactive content that was linked to the program showing on the TV.

"In the past when people have tried to put a Web browser on the TV, the experience has always been difficult to navigate," said Lisa Worthington, senior public relations manager for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business. "You need to have something to input text easily, but keyboards and mice don't really belong in the living room and using a remote is awkward.

"We recognize that people have these second devices in their hands while they're consuming TV. But what they don't have is an experience where those devices are talking to each other and the television. Right now devices don't keep up in the living room. What we've done is create an app that will release on all major devices and will enable devices to interact with your Xbox."

SmartGlass will work with Windows and Windows Phone based devices, along with devices running iOS and Android, and will connect using wi-fi.

Also E3 Microsoft announced the holiday line up of Xbox game releases, including Halo 4, and new additions to Forza, Fable, Gears of War, Call of Duty, Madden and other epic franchises. The company also announced new Kinect-enabled games, and a new home fitness program developed with Nike, called Nike+ Kinect Training.

Microsoft also announced a new music service, Xbox Music, that will offer some 30 million tracks to users across the whole Windows platform.

"It's the music service we've always dreamed of building, so it will really be the best of download-to-own or subscription music," Mehdi said. "You'll be able to personalize and share with your friends, and best of all, discover new music and integrate it with your Windows 8 PC, tablet and phone."

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