There aren’t many apps that come to Windows Phone, or even Android, before iOS, but Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass has taken that particular path. This Xbox remote controller and companion app was first released for Android, and recently, its integration with Windows Phone 8 was announced. To ensure iPhone users don’t feel left out, the Redmond has just released an iOS version of the app. It is possible that you own an Xbox 360, but don’t know anything about SmartGlass. We can’t say that you will be missing anything important if you don’t have this app, but it is sure to make your gaming experience much more streamlined and manageable. The management options for Xbox Live are pretty great, but they don’t even make up for half of what the app is capable of. Xbox SmartGlass can turn your iPhone or iPad into a remote controller for the console, so that you can stream content, launch apps or even play games using your device! Plus, it offers exclusive supplementary content for games.
As can be expected, you will have to sign in to the app using your Xbox Live ID. The first page lists three video tutorials. Hit the Start button when you have gained some familiarity with the app via the videos. The first section is the Search area, which is useful for viewing latest Bing trends for games. You can also look for any particular keyword or title via the search bar. Search results include game (or music) titles, along with their ratings, year of release and genre.
The app manages every aspect of your Xbox Live account, including viewing stats and achievements of games you have recently played. If you choose to connect the app to your Xbox 360, it is possible to remotely launch games. For more thorough controls, head to the controller section, where taps and swipes can be used to remotely access different areas of the Dashboard. The controller is displayed only when you have chosen to link the app with your console.
To manage your Xbox Live account, navigate to the Social area. This screen shows your avatar (you can edit it using the options in the bar at the bottom), messages, profile and notifications. Messages can also be accessed from anywhere in the app using the small icon in the top-right corner. The Discover section ensures that you never grow bored of your Xbox 360, displaying all the latest and popular movies and games. From the SmartGlass settings menu, you can tweak privacy settings, toggle app sounds and Autoplay. Autoplay works pretty much like AirPlay in that it streams currently playing media from the console to your iPhone whenever both devices are nearby.
Xbox SmartGlass is a free and universal app (available on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad). If you own both an iDevice and an Xbox 360, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t take it for a spin.