There’s a great need for mobile gaming accessories out there, but the big names of the tech industry seem to leave third parties take care of that sector. Only Samsung has decided to take the matter in their own hands (quite literally).
Yesterday, Samsung announced in a press release that it would soon launch a smartphone gamepad. This move might have taken some by surprise, as most of the buzz nowadays is caused by the Samsung Galaxy S5 rumors.
The Korean company decided to fill the empty space with a product of its own, even though there are plenty of
Chinese third-party smartphone gamepads out there that work just fine with the Android handsets.
In terms of design, Samsung’s smartphone gamepad is not bad at all, but on the other hand, it’s not spectacular, either.
The devices that can be attached to this gamepad should measure between 4-inches to 6.3-inches in diagonal. In other words, you won’t be able to attach older devices, nor tablets or gigantic phablets, but you could still connect the gamepad to these and play wirelessly.
An interesting aspect is that the gamepad can be connected to a TV via All Share Screen Mirroring or an HDMI cable. This way, people can play Android games on much larger screens, much in the way OUYA users can.
In terms of software, the gamepad will have 35 games at launch, with more to come in 2014. A mobile console app has also been prepared for Android gamers.
The major downside of this gamepad? Its compatibility with older devices. According to Samsung, the device will only work with handsets running Android 4.1 or more. In fact, the company states that the product is optimized for Samsung devices running Android 4.3 or newer. Lemme translate that for you: this thing was made with the Galaxy Note 3, S4, Note II, and S III in mind.
A quick search on DX reveals similar smartphone gamepads that are even compatible with Android 2.3. I don’t know who would want to use that version of Android in this age and time, but hey, the compatibility is there. Samsung’s gamepad comes with a rechargeable 160mA battery, which is a bit of a disappointment, considering that its Chinese brothers are powered by 500mA batteries.
One of the major differences between this gamepad and its lesser known competitors is that Samsung’s device comes with NFC.
There has been no word on the price of this gamepad, but considering how much similar products cost, this one shouldn’t be more than $50. For that price, however, the build quality would have to be spectacular.
For the moment, Samsung has only decided to launch the smartphone gamepad only in Europe, where Google’s mobile OS has the greatest market share, so US Android users will have to wait some more.