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E3 Conference 2012 Highlights: Home Theater, Gaming, and Home Entertainment
E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) 2012 was held last June 5 to 7 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and again it generated tons of buzz as one of the world’s biggest gaming industry events. E3 2012 saw video game makers, electronic entertainment companies, and console and consumer tech manufacturers introduce new products and platforms to the public. Here’s a list of the best of ‘em – coming to a home theater, home entertainment, or gaming room near you:
Microsoft’s Xbox SmartGlass
At E3 2012, Microsoft introduced the Xbox SmartGlass, a service that enables users to connect tablet computers and smartphones with Microsoft’s video game consoles. With SmartGlass – which is coming holiday 2012 – users can control what they’re seeing on TV using their phones or tablets as a remote. Playing games, browsing the Internet, listening to music, or watching shows on the mobile device can now be moved and enjoyed to the big-screen of every home theater. Of course, users can continue using the touchscreen technology of their handhelds to scroll, pinch, and zoom in on what they’re seeing on TV, which acts as a second screen that can provide extra information (like game progress, help options, etc.).
“Xbox SmartGlass works with all the devices that you already own: the TV you already own, the phone you already own and the tablet you already own,” said Marc Whitten, the head of the Microsoft Xbox Live division. “Xbox SmartGlass turns any TV into a smart TV.”
Nintendo Wii U GamePad
At last year’s E3, Nintentdo gave the world a peek of the upcoming Wii U, the company’s new video game console, with a compact form factor that serves as a nice little addition to any home theater setup. This year, Nintendo provided a glimpse of the Wii U GamePad controller, which features a 6.2-inch 16:9 aspect ratio LCD touch-screen, all the traditional button controls, two analog thumbsticks, rumble features, motion and gyroscope sensors, a microphone, stereo speakers, a front-facing camera, a stylus, and support for NFC (Near Field Communication) functionality.
Nyko PlayPad and Power A Moga
The featured manufacturers at E3 2012 didn’t focus exclusively on the video game console market. There were portable gaming products and accessories for home theater owners and smartphone and tablet users, too.
The new Nyko PlayPad, a wireless Bluetooth controller, brings the console experience straight to Android-based tablets (Android 3.0 and higher). It includes a dual analog stick, a d-pad, 4 face buttons, left and right dual shoulder/trigger buttons, and a specialized tablet stand. The PlayPad is also engineered in conjunction with NVIDIA, which means that the controller is compatible with high-end mobile games optimized for NVIDIA’s Tegra-powered tablets and phones.
Another Bluetooth-enabled mobile gaming controller is the full-featured Power A MOGA, which also has dual analog sticks and the traditional button layout. The controller includes a non-slip flip-out arm that’s designed to safely grip users’ Android smartphones; it also works with the MOGA Pivot app (coming soon to Google Play), which manages users’ game library and connects them to a collection of MOGA-enhanced game titles.