Microsoft announces Xbox SmartGlass, Internet Explorer for Xbox 360 and Xbox Music

As rumored, Microsoft unveiled a number in interesting new Xbox 360-centric applications and features at the E3, with the most exciting being the Xbox SmartGlass. SmartGlass is an app for smartphones and tablets (of the iOS, Windows and Android variety), that allows gamers to control their Xbox 360 and access interactive content.

Internet Explorer is also finally coming to the Xbox 360, and the Zune music service is being re-branded as Xbox Music. The voice controlled Bing search for Kinect has also learned a few new languages as well.

There’s a whole lot more video content in the queue (30+ new partners are coming soon), especially for sports fans, including NBA Game Time, NHL GameCenter LIVE, WatchESPN and more.

Read on for the announcements for even more details.

What if your tablet or phone knew what you were watching on TV and presented bonus features without you having to lift a finger? What if you could use your tablet to draw up a play in EA SPORTS’ “Madden NFL” and then perform it to perfection on your TV? What if you could control your favorite websites on the TV with a simple swipe, pinch or zoom on your tablet’s touchscreen?

To kick-start the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Microsoft Corp. today unveiled a bold new vision for enjoying entertainment at home and on the go with Xbox SmartGlass. Launching this year, Xbox SmartGlass is an application for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and other portable devices that connects phones, PCs and tablets with your Xbox 360 console to make your entertainment smarter, more interactive and more fun.(1) The intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass makes your entertainment more engaging, Web surfing more effortless, and playing games more immersive by delivering companion content and control to enhance your TV experience.

“Xbox is on a mission to make the entertainment that you love even more amazing,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With Xbox SmartGlass, we are lighting up entertainment across your phone, tablet, PC and TV in a completely new way. If you love to play games, watch TV and movies, surf the Web, or listen to music, there has never been a better time to be on Xbox.”

Two years after the launch of Kinect for Xbox 360, Microsoft unveiled the next step in its journey to make Xbox synonymous with entertainment by unveiling Xbox SmartGlass, Internet Explorer for Xbox, and new TV, movie and music offerings.

The Web Transformed for TV
Microsoft will launch Internet Explorer for Xbox this fall in all countries where Xbox and Xbox LIVE are available. Through the power of Xbox, the magic of Kinect and the intelligence of Xbox SmartGlass, you will be able to surf the Internet using your voice on your Xbox 360 and navigate using your mobile devices for an incredibly easy Web browsing experience on the television.(2) Whether it is a new website you want to check out on the big screen, an HD video you want to share in your living room, or your favorite website you check daily and want to view in the 10-foot experience, you will have the power of the Web now on your TV.

Entertainment Keeps Getting Better on Xbox
Last year, Xbox added voice search powered by Bing and the power of Kinect, making it easier to find the entertainment you want. This year, voice search is expanding to 12 additional countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand,Spain and Switzerland.

Adding to the current catalog of customized sports, TV, movies and music apps from world-leading TV and entertainment providers, this year Xbox will continue to deliver all the content you care about in unique ways.

  • Your home for sports. Microsoft announced more must-have sports experiences and content coming to Xbox this year, further establishing it as the home for sports fans everywhere.
    • NBA Game Time with League Pass Broadband (U.S.) and NBA League Pass (outside of the U.S.). Fans who subscribe to League Pass Broadband will have access to hundreds of out of market live games (blackout restrictions apply in the U.S. and some international markets), plus highlights from around the league and up to the minute stats of your favorite players.
    • NHL GameCenter LIVE (Worldwide except Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden). Hockey fans will be able to enjoy every moment of the live action as it happens on the ice, with live games (out of market and blackout restrictions apply), more in-game interactivity, and replays and highlights on demand any time.
    • ESPN (U.S.). Later this year fans will enjoy 24/7 live programming through WatchESPN from ESPN Networks ? ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3 and ESPN U. All the favorites, including “SportsCenter,” “SportsNation,” “The Mike and Mike Show,” as well as ESPN’s coverage of the NFL, MLB and the NBA, will be live on Xbox.

Xbox also announced regional sports provider SPORT1 coming later this year to Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

  • More TV and entertainment. Today, Microsoft announced more than 35 new content partners launching on Xbox over the next 12 months, including:
    • Absolute Radio ? U.K.
    • Ameba TV ? Canada, U.S.
    • BreakMedia ? Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., U.S.
    • Comedy Central Stand Up ? U.S.
    • Comoyo ? Denmark, Norway, Sweden
    • Corus Entertainment’s Franklin the Turtle ? Canada
    • GameSpot TV ? Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
    • Headweb ? Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden
    • Indie Flix ? U.S.
    • Machinima ? All Xbox LIVE markets
    • Napster ? Germany, U.K.
    • Nickelodeon ? U.S.
    • Paramount Movies ? U.S.
    • Picturebox ? U.K.
    • Quickflix ? Australia, New Zealand
    • Rakuten ShowTime ? Japan
    • Revision3 ? Canada, U.K., U.S.
    • Rhapsody ? U.S.
    • RTL XL ? Netherlands
    • Slacker Radio ? Canada, U.S.
    • SnagFilms ? U.S.
    • Terra (Sunday TV) ? Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico
    • The AOL On Network ? Australia, Canada, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.
    • The Weather Channel ? U.S.
    • The Whistle ? U.S.
    • TOU.TV ? Canada
    • TV3 ? Spain
    • Twitch TV ? U.S.
    • Univision ? U.S.
    • Wuaki ? Spain
    • Youzee ? Spain
  • Xbox Music revealed. Microsoft showed a sneak peek of Xbox Music, an all-new music service coming to Xbox 360, Windows Phone and Windows 8-based devices.

Xbox on Windows 8
This year Xbox will bring premium entertainment experiences to more than 180 new countries around the world when Xbox on Windows 8 launches, featuring four Metro-style apps: Video, Music, Games and Xbox SmartGlass. (3)

With Xbox on Windows 8, you can play games with friends and earn achievements, listen to music, and enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies wherever you go.(4) And with Xbox SmartGlass, you can start a movie or TV show on your Windows 8 device and finish it on the big-screen TV.