Will the future of the living room come to a Microsoft-Apple throwdown? It's certainly looking like it.
LOS ANGELES--Microsoft's SmartGlass app for tablets is fascinating not just because it adds a second screen to the Xbox 360, but also because it's platform-agnostic: it'll work on Android or an iPad, it seems, just as easily as Windows. Add in Internet Explorer for the Xbox 360 and a bevy of new entertainment video apps, and it's pretty clear: the Xbox 360 is ready to take on Apple TV.
I guessed as much as far asseveral months ago, but it looks like Microsoft's essentially providing some of that Windows 8 experience without installing Windows 8. A smartphone or a tablet can control Web browsing or second-screen entertainment, in ways that seem reminiscent of the ways that an iPad or iPhone can work with an Apple TV.
Add in the Kinect -- which, in a lot of ways, functions like the much-rumored Siri for Apple TV -- and you have a platform that's ready to go as a very valid competitor. Heck, forget competitor: Apple's going to have to play a little catch-up.
I do have doubts as to second-screen content:and HBO Go's enhanced interactivity for shows like "Game of Thrones" haven't been killer apps. But, it depends on the content that comes down the pike.
This second-screen strategy also brings up the question: has Microsoft just stolen some of the thunder from the Wii U, the way that the Kinect stole thunder from the Wii's motion controls? And willafter all?