When you play around with Windows 8 on a desktop PC you soon come to realise that the Operating System assumes it’s working on a tablet. Instructions tell you to tap on areas of the screen, to move your finger along the tablet etc. it’s like you are actually using a big screen tablet. This can be ignored and you can use your computer as normal but one thing it does give you is a few nice extras.
One of the most obvious is that you can play and use all the apps on Windows 8 on the big screen and use your mouse (or if you have it the touch screen of course). One nice little touch is when it comes to Microsoft’s much touted Smartglass for use with the Xbox 360.
Smartglass on the Bigger Screen
When I first wondered how the Smartglass app would work on a big screen I launched it when my Xbox was on and the answer is (just as with tablets and other interfaces) not much unless you have software that uses it. Then I loaded up Forza Horizon and I saw what fun can be had. Any gamer who has used Smartglass with Forza Horizon will know that the Smartglass becomes a map with GPS so that you can see where you are driving on the game and the fun part of this is that you can actually set the routes through the Smartglass app.
This is of course nothing new when it comes to the game, but the novelty with this is that you can actually have the smartglass on a second screen instead of a small tablet. In Forza for example this means that you have the map available in high definition without having to constantly go to the menu in the game to visit it. As I said, this is just a novelty on the desktop really but it’s still a nice touch especially when it comes to games. It’s fun to have that second screen (in tablet form or on a second screen additional to the one you are playing on) to provide you with more information.
This feature of the Smartglass won’t always translate to the big screen of course, for example I doubt you’ll want to use another screen as a remote control for the movies you are watching, or look to the second screen to read the information when you are trying to watch your show but for some things it adds even more to the experience. Smartglass is a nice new feature for the Xbox 360 and other devices but it’s still a waiting game to see what real use it is in the real world. Forza Horizon does show there is potential (and other games and apps that use it of course) and with SOME games and apps it will have even better value on a bigger screen. That is if the same level of support exists of course.