June 4, 2012 at 1:26 PM ET
Microsoft has unveiled a new technology it's calling SmartGlass — a way to share videos and gaming content across a variety of devices.
At its keynote event in advance of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Microsoft executives demonstrated how the SmartGlass application will let you share a variety of media from your tablets and mobile devices to your TV.
According to a Microsoft press release, the free app is for Windows 8, Windows Phone and "other portable devices" and is coming sometime this year. It will connect phones, tablets and PCs with your Xbox 360 giving you more control over video and other content and the ability to share videos across devices.
It will also offer "companion content." By way of example, at the E3 keynote executives showed how SmartGlass would enable you to watch "Game of Thrones" on your TV via Xbox 360's HBO Go app while your tablet provides you with a map of Westeros and a look at where things are taking place in the show's fictional world.
They also showed how gamers playing "Halo 4" on their Xbox 360 could access and view in-game maps on their tablet. And they showed how those playing "Madden NFL" on their Xbox would be able to draw a play on their tablet and make it happen in the game.
Microsoft is calling SmartGlass "an intelligent companion" that pulls you deeper into the experience. Though details are still forthcoming, SmartGlass appears to be Microsoft's answer to Apple's AirPlay. The app will apparently work with tablets and phones of the Windows, Android and iOS variety.
SmartGlass is also an interesting answer to what Microsoft competitor Nintendo is planning to do with its forthcoming Wii U game machine. That is -- provide a second screen for gamers to access additional content on.
Nintendo's Wii U will come with a GamePad -- a controller with a screen built into it. The GamePad will give players and additional and different way to interact with the games they're playing.
Meanwhile, SmartGlass appears to be yet another part of Microsoft's ongoing push to make the Xbox not just a game machine but an all-in-one media center. Earlier in the keynote address, Microsoft revealed its forthcoming Xbox Music service.
Microsoft announced SmartGlass during a keynote event in advance of the Electronic Entertainment Expo which starts in Los Angeles this week. Be sure to check out writer Devin Coldewey's live blog of the entire event right here.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
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