SmartGlass, the tablet companion app for the Xbox 360 kinda sucks. It’s damned slow, it takes ages to connect with the console, it has barebones functionality, and it’s damned slow. Have I mentioned that’s it’s a little slow? It won’t be, on the Xbox One.
In a post on Xbox Wire, Microsoft’s box Live General Manager Ron Pessner has thoroughly detailed how SmartGlass will work on the Xbox One. The first point to notice is that it connects to the Xbox One natively – taking away much of the terrible latency found on the current iteration.
“Xbox One was designed from the ground up with SmartGlass in mind, and an immediately noticeable difference with Xbox One SmartGlass compared to Xbox 360 SmartGlass is the connection speed and performance," Pessner says in a canned interview on Xbox Wire.
"On average it only takes about four seconds for SmartGlass to recognize your Xbox One and create an instant connection," claims Pessner, saying it’s "about three-and-a-half times faster on Xbox One than its Xbox 360 counterpart.” You’ll also be able to hook up 16 SmartGlass devices to a single Xbox One simultaneously.
That could make it actually quite an interesting machine when it comes to digital versions of boardgames.
you’ll also be able to use Smartglass for matchmaking, and finding games to play. "If you’re in the middle of game on your console, you can begin matchmaking for a multiplayer session through SmartGlass and you won’t interrupt your action on the big screen," he described.
It’ll also be used to help and guide players who’re having trouble in some games – with walkthroughs, tips, and other bits of digital aide.
"We’re working closely with developers today to add game help to individual Xbox One titles. This is done by game creators making a help manual that we then host in SmartGlass. During gameplay, SmartGlass follows your progress and knows exactly where you’re at and where you’re having trouble, so that when you hit the Help button you’ll be given the tips you need."
And naturally, you’ll be able to browse and make purchases from the Xbox Games store using your tablet or phone, which will then start downloading to your console.
It certainly sounds like SmartGlass will be better on the Xbox One – and could actually end up being useful, instead of just kinda cool, but entirely pointless. I’ve tried to use it on the 360, but end up being frustrated and annoyed.