Media

Microsoft rolls out new Xbox SmartGlass iOS app

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

Microsoft has updated its Xbox Live companion application for iOS devices, giving it a new SmartGlass rebranding.

The free new app is much more intuitive. You can now use the touch screen as it was meant to be used, with gesture-based controls that allow you to swipe the screen to navigate through menu options both on your TV screen and the app itself.

The interface for Xbox SmartGlass, Microsoft’s new second-screen initiative for the Xbox, also just makes more sense. There are five different screens you can swipe through, including a Bing search, home, social, recent, and discover. It’s also much easier to connect with your Xbox shortly after launching the app. Having used my Xbox almost exclusively for the past few months to stream video, I can say that the old app took up to 30 seconds before connecting. And this would happen every time my iPhone screen would sleep.

The biggest addition, and something that should have been in previous versions of the iOS app, is the ability to use the app’s keyboard to input text on the Xbox. Granted, I rarely have need of a full keyboard, but it should come in handy the next time I need to retype my email address, type in a wi-fi user name/password, or sign in to future Xbox Live third-party apps.