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Xbox Companion App Turns WP7 Into Xbox Remote

Once Microsoft revealed its content lineup for Xbox TV, the Windows Phone team Wednesday followed up with a reveal of the Xbox Companion App, a free application for the Windows Phone platform that essentially turns any Windows Phone-based smartphone into an Xbox 360 remote.

So far there's no projected release date, but Microsoft PC Evangelist Ben Rudolph breaks the app down into three main features in a recent hands-on trial: find content, learn about content, and control content.

Rudolph claims that finding content is similar to the actual Xbox 360 experience, as users have instant access to the Xbox LIVE Marketplace catalog of games, movies, music and TV shows. Rudolph said that he used the app to search "Featured Content" and then pulled up the awesomely cool "X-Men: first Class" movie.

"Once I found the movie and touched the movie tile, the Xbox Companion app took me to an info page that has all the related details about," he said. "And the content is really rich, too – for example, when I swiped to the 'cast' page and touched an actor’s name, like star James McAvoy, I was taken to other movies starring him. From there, I could easily learn more about the other movies, their cast, etc. It’s an infinite road of interactive content."

Once he selected the actual X-Men movie and hit play, the app switched into "controller mode" and allowed him to navigate the Xbox 360, or control video playback. "The best part here is that controls are virtually instantaneous – easily as fast as using my controller or a TV remote," he added.

Rudolph concluded his hands-on blog stating that the app would arrive "soon" although it will likely be released around the same time Xbox TV and the new dashboard is launched.