We just had an opportunity to sit and chat with Microsoft’s Marc Whitten, corporate vice president of Xbox Live, about the history and future of Microsoft’s SmartGlass. It’s one of the highlights of the show for us and so we were curious about its origin. Namely: was SmartGlass created to allow easy text entry into the upcoming Xbox 360 version of Internet Explorer?
It’s the opposite, says Marc. Microsoft has toyed with ways to bring IE to the Xbox for years now but always shelved the project due to control issues. It was only when they came up with the idea of SmartGlass 12 months ago — being able to connect your phone or tablet to your Xbox and use it as a controller, among other things — that a browser on an Xbox started to make sense. Great controls, he said, were the key to building the “great web experience” they were looking for.