The August update for the Xbox One began rolling out worldwide August 17th and will continue roll out over the next few days. This update brings new improvements to the Xbox One’s UI, some new features, and added functionality to its companion app Smartglass. Larry Hryb (Major Nelson) put together a video on his blog to show off whats new in the update.

One of the best features in this update was also one of the most requested ones, the ability to purchase and send games to download from the Smartglass app. Before this update, the Smartglass app was a pretty lack luster companion to the Xbox One. You could control the Xbox like a basic controller and you could look up achievements or your friend’s stats, but you really couldn’t do much else. You could send apps to be opened on your Xbox, but a lot of those apps should have been able to run on your mobile device.

This latest update revamps the companion app to be a little bit better. You can now browse the Store from the Smartglass app on your mobile device and make purchases. If you have your Xbox setup to automatically start updates from standby mode (also a new feature in this update) you can start downloading and installing a game from anywhere. This is great for when you are at lunch, work, or on the go and hear about an addon or game you want to buy. You can simply purchase it either from Xbox.com or from the Smartglass app and your Xbox will download and install the game so it will be ready to play when you get home.

This is a necessary step forward for Smartglass, but they need to do more with this “companion” app. The updated added much needed functionality, but we’d like to see more functionality while playing games. Not many developers have taken advantage of the extra peripheral to give the player more information or more functionality. It would seem that they view it as more of a novelty item instead. Microsoft needs to push developers to take advantage of mobile devices for more than just viewing stats. They could use it to show your inventory, show a map, show a radar, or any other host of secondary tasks that would make playing the game that much more enjoyable. This is what I suggested back before Smartglass was released and it pains me to see that Microsoft is moving so slow on this technology. Sony already has the Vita which supports similar tasks.

In any case, be sure to check out the official list of features included in the update below.

  • Mobile purchase: One of the most requested features on Xbox Feedback. Using Xbox SmartGlass or on Xbox.com, you can remotely purchase games and Add-on content. No more waiting to begin downloading when you get home – if your console is set to automatically take updates, your console will begin downloading your purchase.
  • Activity feed updates: We’re adding new ways for you to interact with friends in the activity feed. The interface will change to a single column scrolling list that is longer and includes more content. We’ll add the ability to post text to your feed, and to “like” and comment on feed items. You can share game clips and anything else in the feed with friends either publically (to your activity feed) or privately (as an attachment to a message). You’ll also be notified when anyone likes, comments on or shares your items. Each user will get a personal feed on their profile, so you can see what specific friends have been up to. And, with SmartGlass, you can see what your friends have shared to their activity feed and “like” specific posts (additional activity feed support coming in future SmartGlass updates).
  • Low battery notification: You asked for it, now a notification will pop up when your controller battery is getting low.
  • Disable notifications during video: Adding the ability to turn off notifications based feedback we heard from you.
  • Enabling 3D Blu-ray: An update to the Blu-ray player app will enable 3D Blu-ray functionality on Xbox One.
  • Last seen time in Friends list: Direct from Xbox Feedback, the friends list will now show how long it’s been since a friend has been online. For example, “Last seen 20m ago: Forza Motorsport 5.”

Also be sure to let Microsoft know what you want to see in the future for the Xbox One by hitting them up over at Xbox Feedback.

Source: Major Nelson