Wearable Tech World Feature Article
September 02, 2014

SmartGlass Gets Smarter, Does More on Xbox One

It was perhaps one of the lesser-known parts of the Xbox One, but a part that's starting to gain some ground and offer up new levels of functionality that previously weren't seen. A recent update, meanwhile, showed off just what this system could really do by adding some new features and, from there, some new potential use cases.

The new features were originally brought out in beta, according to reports, and offered things like OneGuide features as well as television streaming, but only in certain markets. Now, users in 29 new markets will get access to the streaming function—streaming from the Xbox One to the SmartGlass app—over the course of the next few weeks.

But it's not just streaming that will hit the system; a second update will allow for gameplay recording via a built-in record button known as Game DVR. That's likely to prove exciting news for anyone interested in putting on a “Let's Play”-style video or anything similar to that. Plus, some smaller tweaks, like the ability to share and post bits from the activity feed, to post status updates on the activity feed and see it in the profile, to see the activity feed on the profile section, and others were also put into play.

Added functionality is, generally speaking, usually a good thing. The more services—especially the more optional services—that can be offered, the more likely it is to help in terms of finding a market. If there's one thing Microsoft needs right now as far as the Xbox One goes, it's more market. Sony and the PlayStation 4 have been having an incredible run of it lately, sufficiently so that not even Sony is all that sure why it's doing as well as it has been of late. Though it's enough to wonder if these are the features that will really drive sales and profitability for Microsoft; more Xbox One gamers, or potential Xbox One gamers, are likely looking at the system in terms of game releases than in terms of what the SmartGlass companion app can offer. Game releases, sadly, have not been doing well lately with much of what should have been coming out in 2014 now delayed to early 2015 and beyond. Still, that Game DVR function is likely to help, especially if there's comparatively easy uploading to other computers to add voice over functions or just straight uploading to YouTube for easy viewing later.

This may not have quite the impact that Microsoft might have wanted in terms of driving up the user numbers, but for those who are already in the camp, it might well serve as a way to keep said users in place. There's a lot to like about the Xbox One, and every little bit helps. But if it really wants to pull back some of the losses incurred ever since that disastrous E3 of 2013, Microsoft is going to have to pull out all of the stops, and upgrades to SmartGlass alone may not ultimately do the job.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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