E3 2012 is shaping up to be a grudge match for tablet supremacy between Microsoft and Nintendo. On Sunday, Nintendo unveiled the Wii U Gamepad. With its infrared capabilities and intuitive touch and stylus interface, it could have a library full of unique titles, plus fun gimmicks and meaningful gameplay tweaks from the biggest third-party developers. Then Microsoft debuted SmartGlass, an app that will turn your tablet or smartphone into a touch interface and media center bridge for the Xbox 360.
While competition is always good for the consumer, and having another tablet interface on the market might even help Nintendo wrangle third-party support, we cant help but compare the two. Is the SmartGlass truly a Wii U killer, or will it be little more than a flashy TV remote? Its way too early to say for sure, but lets contrast and compare what we know so far...
SmartGlass- Since Microsoft has said SmartGlass can use the latest iOS, Android or Windows tablets and smartphones, most users already own a device that will be able to work with their Xbox 360. Given that, SmartGlass will likely be downloaded as an app. No app price has been announced, but we think its safe to assume it will be free, provided you have an Xbox Live Gold account.
SmartGlass- Since its basically an app for your smart device and Xbox 360, the SmartGlass uses a purely touch based interface. It does, however, have seamless integration with many Kinect voice features.
SmartGlass- SmartGlass will turn your tablet or smartphone into an advanced tablet display and remote control for your Xbox 360. The two will be in constant communication, were guessing over Wi-Fi. Since multiple types of devices with varying levels of processing power will be SmartGlass-compatible, were wondering if there will be any disparity in performance, say between an iPad 2 and the new iPad.
SmartGlass- The Xbox's tablet service will also be able to move media between the two screens, turning your Xbox 360 into a hub for streaming entertainment on your television screen. Watch a movie on the bus, then pick right where you left off on the big screen! Also, some movies and TV will have SmartGlass enabled features, giving you information about the cast, credits and fictional world right on the tablet while you watch.
SmartGlass- To demonstrate the gaming potential for SmartGlass, Microsoft showed two conceptual gameplay demos involving Madden and Halo, two massive franchises. The Madden demonstration showed how a player could draw a play just like a coach on the sidelines. For Halo, the tablet provided supplementary data, and manage game invites on Xbox Live.
SmartGlass- Gamers will be able to communicate and share invitations without leaving their game. Microsofts demonstration showed how both the touch interaction and second display of a tablet can make networking on Xbox Live much easier. An on-screen keyboard will make typing a breeze, and youll be able to glance at a message without cluttering up the main screen.
SmartGlass- Microsoft has announced that Internet Explorer will be coming to the Xbox 360. A fully functional browser, itll be made even better by the on-screen keyboard your SmartGlass tablet will provide. Also, the tablets touch interface will let you simulate the point and click of a mouse. With this feature, an Xbox 360 with SmartGlass could the most viable console browser around.