Brian's Take on Tech

Bringing you info about technology, and how it impacts your life for better and worse.   -Brian K, Community Partnerships Supervisor

So you’re sitting around watching Buffy and you KNOW that actor on screen was in something else you saw. You know it. No big deal, right? You just reach for your “fill-in-your-tech-gadget here” and cruise over to IMDB to bring up their filmography. "Wait a second, what is her name? She played a musical instrument...Starts with an A I think???"

What if your gadget was all ready to go with the names of all the actors in the scene just waiting for you to begin your search? How about this, from a live demo given at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo): You're watching Game of Thrones, but you just picked up the show halfway through the season. In this case your device can provide you with a timeline, map and storyline all tied to what is going on in the show you are watching right now. Cool, right?

This is what Microsoft is hoping to bring you this fall with the introduction of SmartGlass. The idea behind SmartGlass is that it provides the user with another screen of extended and, more importantly, integrated content. This could mean many things. It may be that your phone functions as a remote control. If you're a gamer, it may be that your playbook for Madden 2013 comes up on your device (very handy if you are playing your buddy head to head). Only time will tell how SmartGlass may be utilized. 

So this probably sounds like I am just a shill for the boys in Redmond--not true my friends. There are a couple of important reasons I am sharing this with you. First, it was announced that Microsoft will make SmartGlass available not only on Microsoft devices but will also license it for Android and Apple OS devices. This is a big change from Microsoft's previous business paths – think of the ill-fated Zune player. More important is the announcement that Microsoft is releasing the SmartGlass features in a SDK (Software Developers Kit). In other words, they are going to let any Joe Schmoe build applications around this technology. This is a huge about-face for a company that has a reputation of not playing well with others. For consumers, this likely means more potential applications, with more variety and usefulness than if the code was kept under lock and key.

Only time will tell how SmartGlass works out but it certainly raises the bar for how your devices will work together in the future to create an information bubble that travels with the user and morphs to their needs on the fly.

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