At a baseline, SmartGlass will provide connections between the Xbox and SmartGlass enabled devices, allowing users to move their content from a device to the Xbox screen and back again, and provide basic controls (play, fast forward, etc). These basic functions will be available whether or not a piece of content is “SmartGlass enabled”. In addition, we were told, SmartGlass would provide some basic cast and credits information for movies, although we weren’t provided any specifics on where this info would come from (perhaps Xbox Video and Music, the successors to Zune?)
On top of that, SmartGlass will work by hosting HTML5 apps, at least at first on Microsoft servers, “in the cloud” (we were told that Microsoft isn’t ready to talk yet about whether or not content could be stored in other clouds or locally). These apps, working with a SmartGlass SDK and set of APIs, would communicate with the local SmartGlass apps (say, on your iPad), and then with your Xbox. The APIs would provide an interface for getting to such Xbox functionality as time code information, for example, to allow developers to tie specific content to a certain point in a game or movie (you can see an example of this in the SmartGlass Game of Thrones app, where information on a second screen app changes based on the where the action is taking place in the episode.
In addition, 3rd party Xbox developers will be able to use Xbox APIs directly from their applications, providing a deeper level of interaction with SmartGlass enabled games and entertainment.