In December of last year, Microsoft released the official My Xbox Live app which allowed Xbox Live members to use their iOS device to do things like view friends lists and achievements, send messages to friends, or mess with your avatar. It was pretty cool, though kind of limited, but for a free download it was worth having for Xbox Live enthusiasts.

Today Microsoft has updated that very app to version 2.0 called Xbox Smartglass [Free], and it greatly expands on the initial concept of accessing Xbox Live from your mobile device. Xbox Smartglass actually connects with your Xbox when you're online and allows you to do things like navigate the Dashboard from your device, type into text fields on the Xbox using your iOS keyboard, and even control navigation of the built-in Xbox Live internet browser using the touch interface.

More exciting than this beefed-up interaction with the Xbox Live service itself is that Xbox Smartglass is also "smart" enough to recognize when you're playing certain Xbox 360 games that offer additional content, and will display said content on your iOS device giving you that "second screen" enhanced experience that seems to be all the buzz as of late. You can see some of what Xbox Smartglass is capable of in this demo video from Microsoft.

For some strange reason, Microsoft didn't take this update opportunity to add widescreen support to the app, so it's letterboxed on iPhone 5 and 5th generation iPod touch. I'm really hoping they have an update in the works for that. It does support Retina Display though, and look quite lovely on the newest iPads and makes for a perfect couch companion on the iPad mini.

We're gonna play around with the new Xbox Smartglass some more to see what it's all about, but if you're an Xbox Live member and an iOS device owner make sure to grab the free app and see for yourself how much it enhances the console experience through the second screen.

  • Doctor U

    The interface is pretty terrible. Of course that's just my opinion…

    • mguniverse

      Why? What's wrong with it?

  • NeonVoidJP

    Looks promising! I recently installed windows 8 on my laptop and had a mess around with smartglass and the idea seems brilliant, just can't wait for games to implement it so we can have cool interactive stuff on our second screens!

  • Nicholas Yu

    Started using Smartglass earlier tonight. I was originally a skeptic, but it won me over. My wife was especially pleased that she could use one of our iPads instead of an Xbox controller, which she finds clunky for her petite hands, when using the Xbox for Hulu or Netflix.

  • Chuck Ankenbauer

    I used it with my iPad, pretty cool... play Forza Horizon and the map and live GPS will be on the iPad (or iPhone if you wish), hope more games with maps support it soon.

  • Decaf Table

    Windows 8 sucks, sorry to say.

    Sent From My iPad

    • toxiccheese

      Why? I've been wanting to upgrade to it but not sure. Did you have trouble installing or using it or??

      • kart_racer3

        I've upgraded and I'm happy with it. The biggest adjustment is the new start menu with tiles, other than that it's pretty much the same.

      • NeonVoidJP

        Windows 8 is brill! For anybody finding it difficult to adjust to you can still use the desktop as normal 🙂

  • Loren Kaplan

    Currently watching NBC election coverage. The electoral map doesn't work for iPhone because you can't rotate the screen. I like the voting bit.

    I also have Apple TV and this 'remote' trumps what apple provides.

  • ungeheier

    Curious.  What other apps on the Xbox support Smartglass other than the Election coverage?

    • Crunchewy

      Apps or games? In terms of games, Forza Horizon and Dance Central 3 support Smartglass. Probably others.

      • ungeheier

         Thanks.  Not planning on getting those.  =

  • GSport70

    It is still new but I am quite sure that a lot of content will support It. I can't wait to see what comes next! They need to add landscape mode for iPhone.

  • swarmster

    This always struck me as a kind of worthless knee-jerk Wii U reaction. It's barely going to see any support, and what support is there is kind of weird (I can control the crappy console browser on my TV by using my tablet? Does no one else see how bizarrely stupid that is?).

    But hold the phone! You can use it as a virtual keyboard?!?! Seriously, why did no one say so?! I won't have to spend 5 hours thumbing in my next Points card or Multiplayer Pass? I don't need to ever pay attention to the Xbox's beyond-stupid Metro-style 1x26 grid of letters that they put in all their apps now? Sold, if true.

    • bem69

      yes you can use the keyboard on your iPhone or iPad, I tried browsing with the iPad app and its a godsend 😀

    • Texazzpete

      You ignorance is quite stunning.
      Smartglass was a BIG part of Microsoft's E3 this year. It had been in development for a while and is NOT a hasty Wii-U reaction as you say.

      Most new games coming out for Xbox 360 will have Smartglass features built in, so I have no idea why you're whining about it 'barely seeing any support', 

      • swarmster

        It won't have very good support because an extremely small percentage of gamers will have it. So even the few developers that take the time to integrate it can't do so in any meaningful, game-impacting way. Meanwhile every Wii U game can rely on its second screen 100% (and 15+ such games are launching next week). The time delay also means it can't be used for anything other than stat displays for the most part. Nothing needed real-time, like weapons changes or important menus. So support will be poor in the quality sense, as well.

        It's over a year and a half after Nintendo announced the Wii U. Microsoft has essentially beta support in a handful of apps and a couple games. If that took longer than a year and a half, Microsoft needs to do some hiring.

  • iAjent

    I quite like the app. It is very 'Windows 8' in its design, but then so is the Xbox dashboard, so I imagine most Xbox owners won't have an issue with it (I personally find the design very intuitive and attractive).

    The only game I have tried it with is Halo 4. The functionality is a little basic, is pretty much a Waypoint terminal and that's it. But, it does highlight the potential and it is super fluid and quick to update with real time actions.

    The best bit so far is undoubtedly using the iPad keyboard for text entry on Xbox. Brilliant.

    Considering it is less than 24hrs old (the iOS app), I'd say its pretty impressive. I can't wait to see what developers do with it. The potential is there, it just needs to be tapped (please, please, please... tactical command map for BLOPS2 during multiplayer... touch screen control for support drops and air strikes would be insanely cool).

  • BulkSlash

    I'm getting quite annoyed by the lack of iPhone 5 support for apps these days. Maybe all the updates are just stuck in the approval system but so many apps are still letterboxed it's getting a bit ridiculous.

    • Ryan Gill

      It works fine on iphone 5. So "support" isn't the right word. Lack of support would be like Square Enix titles, which are buggy. I know what you mean about the screen, it just irks me when ppl like a an app not being full-screen on a small selection of the devices on market means there is no "support." Give them time, these devices haven't been out that long.

  • deafgamer

    While SmartGlass activated on ipad, loads up Halo 4 on X360. SmartGlass App automagically changes to stats screen for Halo Waypoint.

    Can browse on ipad without any need to exit from Halo 4 on X360, I can from this already see all the useful potentials.

    FREE! What not to like?!!