Xbox SmartGlass features shown off in video tour

Microsoft's Xbox SmartGlass app looks amazing, but what does it do exactly? We take a whistlestop video tour through its features.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
2 min read
Watch this: Xbox SmartGlass tour

Microsoft's Xbox SmartGlass app looks very cool, but what does it do exactly? In this video, CNET's own Andrew Hoyle joins forces with games connoisseur Mark Walton from our sister site GameSpot to take a tour of its main features.

SmartGlass syncs your Xbox 360 console with your phone or tablet, allowing you to use it as an extra controller. The app currently works with all Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8-compatible devices, and will be coming to iOS and Android devices early next year. Also rumoured to be in development is the Xbox Surface, a 7-inch tablet optimised for gaming, which will no doubt take advantage of the SmartGlass technology.

Mark and Andrew demonstrate how to use SmartGlass in conjunction with the newly launched Xbox Music service, as well as various video services. One of the primary benefits of the dual-screen Xbox experience is being able to control other Xbox features while gaming, so there's no need to pause and hop out of Trials to load up your Gangnam remix playlist, for example.

As you might expect, SmartGlass also works as an actual games controller. The usefulness of this is limited at moment, but if Microsoft manages to get more developers on board with the dual-screen concept, future releases could see SmartGlass functionality being incorporated from the get-go. This could be particularly exciting in games, such as Grand Theft Auto, which require lots of pausing to jump into menus or maps.

Will we see two screens baked into the Xbox experience anytime soon? Or will it remain an optional extra, to make use of if you happen to own a compatible device? Are you impressed with SmartGlass so far? Take a look at the video above to see the app in action and swipe down to the comments below, or across to our Facebook page to let us know what you think.