Well, this sure came out of left field. Microsoft has released an official Xbox LIVE app for Android! The app can be used to view and modify your 3D Xbox avatar, track your achievements, connect with Xbox LIVE friends, and even get news and information from the Xbox Spotlight feeds. Color us surprised at how fully featured this app is.

xboxlive1 xboxlive2 xboxlive3

The app has a distinctly Metro UI feel to it, which is unsurprising as Redmond has been keen to slather the vector-based UI on all of its properties these days, but the theme definitely clashes with Android. Functionally, however, it's very robust. It doesn't launch or connect with any games aside from achievement tracking, but fans of the Xbox LIVE service will get some utility out of this app.

It's noteworthy that Microsoft has chosen to release this app on Android, though. Windows Phone hasn't exactly skyrocketed into popularity the way Microsoft would like just yet. The Lumia was a good boost, but one phone can't carry the platform. Xbox LIVE integration was always a major bullet point for Windows Phone and, while this app doesn't cover everything Xbox LIVE has to offer, it does indicate that Microsoft seems willing to loosen its grip on some key properties.

The app also seems to have some compatibility issues with tablets. While it installs just fine, the app refused to run on my Xoom, claiming "This app won't work well enough on this device." We assume that Microsoft will expand compatibility as time goes on. The app's description says it is available for "most Android 2.2+ smartphones, with WGVA screen resolution or higher."

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • NemaCystX

    It should be noted though that while we just got this on Android, iPhone just got an update for their app that allows remote control and some xbox 360 integrated features so those are likely coming to Android as well, we just got what the iPhone use to have before today's update.

    • GarrettHouse

      Are you referring to Xbox smart glass? Because I don't think that has come out yet

      • NemaCystX

        No, remote = Buttons like on your controller.  You can see what the iPhone just got here.   

         Its called Xbox companion support, its not nearly as much as what SmartGlass will be able to do.

        • GarrettHouse

          hmm interesting, like you said it will probably eventually come to android. I wonder why they made the controller for iphone only and not for the ipad as well.

        • ElfirBFG

          Looks like a more refined Blueput DS3 controller. Oh well, I have an Android and a PS3, so I'm content with a less polished looking app that has been out for over a year, it works. Also, it can be used as a mouse and keyboard for the PS3 and most BT enabled devices.

          (Talking about the controller portion only, that was probably clear, but still.)

  • SpectroBR

    I got the same message on the OG Transformer.

  • http://twitter.com/ssantinelli Steven Santinelli

    Yeah, installed on Fire, Galaxy Tab 7 and Galaxy Nexus, but wouldn't run on Fire OR Tab...  I'll check Nexus when I get home (Can't BELIEVE I forgot my phone this morning!)

  • Drayon

    this is actually a really good designed app.
    okay, it uses metro, but that is to be expected from microsoft.
    What surprises me the most is that there is not the usual black menu bar on the hox that comes with most apps from this kind of places.

  • SeanSlater

    This is a clever play by Microsoft. Knowing that they are 'up against it' with Android and iPhone this will allow users of the enemy to see what Microsoft is doing, and perhaps their next phone purchase might be a Windows Phone. As the old saying goes, "If you can't beat them, join them."

    • FrillArtist

      They announced a long time ago that they were making an Android app. I also don't see what the big deal is. Google has Google+, Maps (until recently) and a host of others on iPhone.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kchristainsen Kenny Christainsen

    Wish it was App2SD compatible. No room on my EVO4G

  • Dave Duffner

    WOW, I love it!  Too bad I'm screwed apparently.  Went through an entire process just to download and install it, just to find out it's unmovable and overloading my phone so I can't get 'the full experience' and it TELLS me I should just go to Xbox.com.  What, on my phone?  Why?  Wait, on my browser on my PC?  Then why would I need this App!!  I don't get it one bit but at least warnings in advance that stupid things like this could happen would greatly approve my opinion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alejandro-Esteban-Esparza-Sandy/100000467108312 Alejandro Esteban Esparza-Sand

    Pretty interesting app, have it running on both my HTC EVO 4G & HP Touchpad.

  • http://www.anivision.org/ Christopher Bailey (Xcom923)

    it won't work for me it keeps saying I need an internet connection.....well I have one and it's active. I don't know why it's not working T_T

  • warcaster

    They should've made it with the ICS style, just like they are demanding Google to make their apps Metro style. 

    • NemaCystX

      Thats true but the whole point of releasing these apps in the style of WP7 is a "trojan horse" to give users a taste of what WP7 can do.  SmartGlass is also a trojan horse to get users to warm up to Metro, almost like a last ditch effort Microsoft is pushing to get more market share for Windows Phone.  I'm impressed by it but its not an open OS like Android so i'll likely never switch.

      but I may get a dual booting tablet with it on along with Android

      • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

        I know that is the prevailing opinion, but I disagree.  It's not that I think Microsoft is above that, or that they wouldn't be manipulative if given the opportunity, I just don't think that as a company they are smart enough to do that.  I'm not questioning the intellect of Microsoft as a whole, rather, their departments are just completely separate from each other.  Even when their departments do work together, it's usually as little as possible. In this instance, it's far more likely that the Games division (who owns XBox) wanted to create the mobile app in order to further push XBox sales and XBox Live subscriptions. The one and only thing (besides the legal department) that is marginally consistent across the entire company is their branding efforts, which probably resulted in somebody showing the Windows Phone version to somebody else and saying, "This is what we already got approved, if you make it look like this, you'll be done a week earlier".  Frankly, Occam's Razor applies here... Everybody is looking for a sinister or manipulative explanation, but the odds are good that somebody just wanted to cut corners on the design meetings.

        • NemaCystX

          LOL your naive if you think Microsoft won't use the opportunity to sway users into buying their products.  I can almost guarantee they will leave out features from SmartGlass when it launches on Android/iOS/Blackberry etc and only put some features on WP7 and cripple them on other devices to make a selling point for WP7.  Its definitely a trojan horse method and if they do it right, they'll succeed.  They tried it with the Bing app for Android as well.

          I'm die hard Android and I was very impressed with this Xbox Live app, but I won't switch because like I said above, i'm die hard Android and all about the freedom of it.  If it can persuade me to change my opinion of WP7 (I didn't like it at all until now) imagine the impact it would have on others that think the same about WP7 until they actually try apps like this.

          Microsoft is in the business of making money, just like Apple and so is Google, but Google's methods are more subtle than big corps since they thrive on advertising.

          • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

            Yeah, you're right...

            By the way, are tin-foil hats as uncomfortable as they look?

    • duplissi

      holo and metro arent all that dissimilar, granted they are differnet enough but they both are very minimalistic and utilize lots of contrast and harsh edges. the real differences lie with icons vs tiles, metro is more colorful, and holo uses gradients.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    Couple of points from somebody with a Lumia 900 (and just about everything else)
    They copied the look of Windows Phone really closely, but the page scrolling and the black menu bar don't work the same. The Page scrolling is best seen in a video, it's too hard to describe without getting long winded. The black menu bar at the bottom normally animates up, keeping the buttons at the top, but adding names to the buttons to explain what they do (not that it's much of a mystery). There are a couple of other little interface differences between this and the XBox Live app on Windows Phone, but they did a pretty good job matching animations and making it look nice.

    Also, if it counts for anything, even on Windows Phone, the XBox Live app doesn't really match the rest of the interface or apps. It's considered a "Hub", so it is intended to break a couple of the conventions that are otherwise common in Metro (the same is true for the Music + Videos hub and Pictures hub). It's also the one spot that completely disregards the theme and accent color set by the user.

    In response to the point that Microsoft is "demanding" Google conform to the Metro style. The style guidelines are enforced the same way they are on Apple's App Store, they are considered recommended but not required. Some aspects of the OS make certain features have to work a certain way, so things like menus have to be placed in the "Action Bar" at the bottom, but otherwise, you're pretty free to do things however you can make them work (there's a lot of apps that have passed certification that don't make use of the standard controls). Finally, if you look at the Google+ app on iOS, it's clear that Google does build their apps to conform pretty closely to the style guidelines for a platform (well, lately). I'm pretty sure, if they intend to release a G+ app to WP7 (doubtful), then it would have suited to interface.

  • Falconator

    Works on DInc2
    Does NOT work on A500 (installs but errors when opened)

  • GBGamer

    Pigs are flying. Hell has frozen over. The answer is now 41.

  • jodytamar

    installing it from the web, it says that it is not compatible with my gtab 

  • http://www.allankintz.com ack154

    I think it looks nice and flows well overall... but annoying that I have to click "sign in" every time I open the app. Why can't it automatically process that when I open it? It would be nice to change the default screen too... but that's just me being picky.

  • Blue Stacks

    wow! this is great Application.

    Also try this : A new app to play games on PC Talking Tom for PC