Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass: what you need to know

Use your phone or tablet as an Xbox media controller

Compatible titles for the UK include: Avengers Assemble, Battleship, Wrath of the Titans, Total Recall, Red Tails, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, John Carter and many more.

Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass what you need to know
Xbox SmartGlass adds interactive info to great movies, as well as these ones

How does SmartGlass work with music?

The SmartGlass integration with Microsoft's Xbox Music service is similar to Xbox Video. You can use a mobile device as a controller, pausing and skipping tracks, queuing up new music, reading artist bios and exploring related albums. To take advantage of it, you'll need an Xbox Music Pass. Pay nothing for a 30-day trial, £8.99 for a monthly pass or drop an eye-widening £89.90 for a year's subscription.

How does SmartGlass work with games?

Just as the Wii U offers a second screen for games, so SmartGlass has the potential to enhance gaming on the Xbox. Play Halo 4 with a SmartGlass-enabled gizmo and you can keep an eye on your stats via Halo Waypoint. Launch Forza Horizon and you can have a world map open on an iPad as you drive. The advantage of Microsoft's solution is that you can use a device that you already own.

The disadvantage is that, while the Wii U has its extra display built into the controller, you'll need to find a way to balance your SmartGlass device on your lap as you play. It's not ideal. But there are only a handful of other games that support SmartGlass, including: Dance Central 3, Kinect Sesame Street TV, Home Run Stars and Madden NFL 13.

Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass what you need to know
The 'Recent' menu option keeps track of every game you've played and app you've launched

What's the future for Xbox SmartGlass?

Right now, Xbox SmartGlass is a novelty technology looking for a killer app. Nothing about it is a must-have, so if you haven't got a compatible device then you're certainly not missing out. But this is only the first generation of the technology. Sony has already confirmed that the PS4 and PlayStation Vita will link up, and that a forthcoming 'PlayStation app' will provide SmartGlass-style capabilities. So expect an improved, better supported SmartGlass 2.0 to feature heavily in the 'Durango' Xbox 720 when it breaks cover this year.

Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass what you need to know
SmartGlass-enabled films feature IMdB-style video guides with info on key cast and crew

Where can you download Xbox SmartGlass apps?

You can find the free Xbox SmartGlass app in the relevant Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android app stores.

Microsoft Xbox SmartGlass what you need to know
Play Halo 4 with a SmartGlass device and you can keep tabs on your fighting stats as you run and gun