Xbox SmartGlass syncs your console with mobiles and tablets

Microsoft is expanding its gaming empire and music and movie offerings to tablets and smart phones.

Microsoft has unveiled Xbox SmartGlass, an app that lets you play your Xbox using your phone or tablet. And it'll work on iOS and Android devices as well as Windows Phone handsets and Windows 8 tablets. 

Looks like Microsoft is aiming squarely at the Wii U's tablet controls.

Your mobile device will also show more information about the game, like maps or how much ammo you have left. And it'll act as a controller for the Internet Explorer web browser, which will launch on Xbox later this year. SmartGlass is expected before the end of the year.

Marc Whitten, head of Microsoft's Xbox Live division, said: "Xbox SmartGlass works with all the devices that you already own: the TV you already own, the phone you already own and the tablet you already own.

"Xbox SmartGlass turns any TV into a smart TV."

Microsoft demoed Halo 4, with maps and other data displayed on a tablet. It also showed an American football game controlled via tablet.

You'll be able to share TV shows and films between devices. For example, you could be watching a film on your tablet on the way home from work, then pick up where you left off on your TV via Xbox. It'll also bring up info on cast and characters on your mobile device while you're watching on your TV.

South Park creator Trey Parker was at the E3 conference to promote a new game based on his TV show. And he had some cutting words for SmartGlass: "How many times have you been watching an episode of South Park and thought I'd like to be able to watch this on my television while hooked into my mobile device, which is being controlled by my tablet device, which is hooked into my oven, all while sitting in the refrigerator?"

Xbox Music, meanwhile, is a digital music service that will be launched to rival iTunes. It'll bring more than 30 million tracks to the Xbox, Windows 8 devices and Windows Phone handsets. But details were pretty scarce. And there's no word on how it'll affect Microsoft's Zune music service.

Microsoft also announced a tie-in with Nike that'll use Kinect to offer a tailored workout, like a virtual personal trainer. Voice controls will play a bigger part in the next generation of Kinect games too.

Excited? How did Microsoft fare compared with Sony and Nintendo? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.

Image credit: Engadget