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Xbox SmartGlass for Android: Hands-on

Xbox SmartGlass is something we’ve been waiting for with bated breath since we heard that the SDK was released back in June this year.

In a nutshell this lets you use your phone or tablet as a smart remote for navigating the dashboard of your Xbox 360 and making browsing the web, which you can now do thanks to the recent Xbox LIVE update.

For those who like watching YouTube videos on their TV via their 360’s (hint: we do) SmartGlass is manna from heaven.

Instead of typing using the ridiculously inefficient hunt and peck method you’re restricted to when typing in URLs and search terms using the 360 controller, SmartGlass lets you use your phone as an ad hoc wireless keyboard.

Right now it looks like it’s just Internet Explorer that benefits from this improved typing experience – the YouTube app doesn’t support it yet which is a shame. We’d like to see this added in future updates.

Another thing of note is that when you’re connected to your Xbox via SmartGlass, your main controller is still active.

There are certain things that are easier to do on a 360 controller than on your phone and vice versa. Right now, there’s no easy way on SmartGlass to get back to the Xbox Home screen when you’re deep into something like Internet Explorer and you can’t quickly jump between profiles either.

When you set up SmartGlass for the first time on your phone you’ll need to sign in with one profile.

On Android this is especially good news as you can install SwiftKey or Swype or whatever your keyboard weapon of choice is. Xbox SmartGlass will be coming to iPhone, iPad and Windows Phone 8 devices soon, but right now it’s just available for the Android army, on phones running 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. 

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