With the Xbox 360’s latest dashboard update out for everyone this week, there remains just one of its components to be launched: SmartGlass. The companion application for tablets and phones has the potential to be a significant feature for Xbox 360, and I was excited to try it out for myself once it became publicly available. Microsoft announced this week that SmartGlass will be launched alongside Windows 8 this Friday, October 26. I had my copy of Forza Horizon readied to see how well SmartGlass works in a first-party game, which should provide a good glimpse of what SmartGlass can realistically offer right now. Unfortunately, by all indications I — along with most people — will be unable to try it out this week because it inexplicably and unforgivably lacks support for iOS or Android right out of the gate.
In expressing my thoughts on how SmartGlass could give Wii U some trouble following its E3 reveal, I made note of what was probably the single most-important detail announced that day: support for non-Windows devices. By providing support for iOS and Android devices alongside its own line of products, Microsoft ensured SmartGlass’s install base would be significantly larger than it otherwise would have been and that it had a chance at being something more than a poorly-supported Windows Phone-only feature. Better yet, in many people’s case it meant all you would need to do to get a Wii U-style experience is download the SmartGlass app. Sure, it may not be a perfect stand-in for games designed specifically for Wii U’s GamePad, but not everyone necessarily needs that. Whatever the case, the availability of SmartGlass could only help the Xbox 360 this holiday season.