Samsung released its Gamepad accessory for mobile phones on Tuesday in select European regions. The add-on provides hardware controls suited for handset gaming. And while optimized for certain Samsung Galaxy Smartphones, it works with any devices running Android 4.1 or better. Samsung says availability will expand to other regions in the coming weeks.
The Gamepad comes with a companion application called Mobile Console that acts like a storefront for compatible Android games. The device connects to a phone or tablet through Bluetooth 3.0 and can be easily paired via NFC. A bracket on the Gamepad can hold devices ranging in size from 4 to 6.3 inches. Controls include an 8-way directional pad, two analog sticks, four Action buttons and a pair of triggers.
The tricky part for any such accessory is game support, as mobile phone games are designed for touch use. I’ve run into a number of games that simply won’t work with a hardware controller. Samsung say it has 35 titles at launch that work with the new Gamepad.
Clearly, the Samsung Gamepad is the company’s take on accessories that have existed previously for Android devices. Moga, for example, has made several different mobile game controllers for the past two years: I have one that works great with my Android devices. So, this isn’t new territory in the hardware market. It’s more of Samsung creating additional revenue opportunities through its Galaxy branding and sales lead in smartphones. And that’s a game that few others can play better right now.