Microsoft Bringing Internet Explorer to Xbox 360 with “SmartGlass”
At E3 on Monday Microsoft showed off two interesting new features for its Xbox 360 console: support for the Internet Explorer browser through a new tool called “SmartGlass” and Halo 4, the next version in the long-running and popular first person shooter series.
SmartGlass is a surprisingly straightforward but rather handy new tool for surfing the web through the Xbox 360. Because a game controller isn’t an ideal web surfing tool — it boasts neither a keyboard nor a particularly useful scrolling speed — Microsoft will allow gamers to use their smartphone or tablet computer to navigate sites using Internet Explorer.
So far, it looks like gamers will sync their handheld device with their Xbox 360. Once that’s complete, they can use the touch screen on a smartphone or tablet computer to scroll through Internet Explorer on their big screen TV and through their video game console. Users can use their fingers to quickly scroll through pages, zoom, and rotate displayed objects.
Microsoft also says SmartGlass can be used to start playing media (music, movies, etc) on one device (like a tablet, smartphone, Xbox 360, or PC) and finish it on another. The company indicated that the feature would be available for Windows phones as well as Android and iOS devices (like the iPhone and iPad).
Microsoft also took some time to show off Halo 4, the first truly new Halo game since 2007’s Halo 3. We’ve had Halo real-time strategy (RTS) games and mini-sequels (Halo 3: ODST; Halo 3: Reach) in the years since, but Halo 4 promises to be a completely new experience.
Importantly, Halo 4 is also the first Halo game not produced by Bungie Studios. Taking over the storied franchise is 343 Studios, which promises a whole new challenge for main hero Master Chief as he “returns to confront his own destiny and face an ancient evil that threatens the fate of the entire universe.” Halo 4 is scheduled for a November 6 launch.