The new SmartGlass application for the Xbox One will be faster and more feature-laden than its Xbox 360 counterpart, Microsoft said today in a new Xbox Wire post detailing the app and its functionality.
The free SmartGlass app for the Xbox One is separate from the currently available app for the Xbox 360. It will be available this holiday for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, iOS, and Android devices.
Microsoft explained that SmartGlass for the Xbox One is "maturing," with the system designed from the beginning with SmartGlass in mind. The first change gamers will notice is the difference in speed compared to the Xbox 360 SmartGlass app, Microsoft said.
On average, it will take about four seconds for SmartGlass to recognize a user's Xbox One and create a connection. Generally speaking, the new SmartGlass app is 3.5 times faster on the Xbox One than the Xbox 360.
Microsoft said for SmartGlass on the Xbox 360, the app had to bounce back and forth between a datacenter that could be "halfway around the world." For the Xbox One, SmartGlass will talk directly with the Xbox One over Wi-Fi or LAN.
Players will also be able to handle matchmaking using the SmartGlass app on the Xbox One. Users can begin matchmaking for a multiplayer session through SmartGlass while they are in the middle of a game or application through the console.
Microsoft has also expanded the number of devices that can be connected to the Xbox One, bumping the figure from four on the Xbox 360 to 16 for the next-generation console. Microsoft said an "interesting implementation" of this would be a poker game with friends or an MMORPG where numerous users can play together at once.
SmartGlass on the Xbox One will also include a new Game Help option that is aimed at players who may be stuck in a game and need assistance. By tapping the Help button, SmartGlass is able to offer guides or help. This will only work if developers create help manuals that Microsoft will then host in SmartGlass. It was not announced which games will support the Help option at launch.
While gamers are away from their Xbox Ones, they can use SmartGlass to send and receive messages, check Achievements, and track what friends are playing or doing. SmartGlass on the Xbox One will also host user-created Game DVR clips that players can watch on the go.
Lastly, SmartGlass for the Xbox One will serve as a remote control when interacting with TV through the system. Users can change channels and control volume using the app. The Xbox One's new OneGuide--a compilation of what's on TV, favorite channels, and streaming options--will also be supported through SmartGlass.
"So when you're fighting over the remote or what to watch next, use SmartGlass to see what's on and what to watch without interrupting what’s happening on the TV or to go ahead and change the channel if the remote is nowhere to be found," Microsoft said.
The Xbox One launches in 13 countries across the world on November 22, exactly eight years after the Xbox 360 debuted on November 22, 2005. The system will be available at launch for $500, which is a "very good deal," according to Microsoft.