In my news article about Microsoft's Xbox TV services announcement, I mentioned a Windows Phone app that lets the handset act as a remote for the video game console. Not coincidentally, Microsoft has separately detailed this app, which is called the Xbox Companion.
"The Xbox team is bringing a new world of entertainment to your living room and making it faster, funner, and easier to find," Microsoft's Ben Rudolph writes in a curiously unedited posting to the Windows Phone blog. "The insanely awesome (but still not quite available) Xbox Companion app will be completely free for Windows Phone users [and] is an amazing little tool that will let you find, learn more about, and control content from Xbox LIVE Marketplace on your Xbox 360."
According to the post, the app has the following three major features:
Finding Content: As with the console itself, the Xbox Companion gives you instant access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace's catalog of games, movies, music and TV shows.
Learn more about what you're watching, listening to, or playing: Each piece of content in the marketplace has various pages of information in the app, "an infinite road of interactive content."
Control and Play: The Xbox Companion can work in "controller mode," where you can navigate through various Xbox screens and control video playback to the HDTV. The controls are "virtually instantaneous" and "easily as fast as using my controller or a TV remote." (I'd argue that using a TV remote is "instantaneous" not "virtually instantaneous," so I'm curious to see that in action.)
The Xbox Companion app will be free for Windows Phone users and is expected to be available "soon."