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iControlPad Physical iPhone Game Controller to Use Bluetooth


iControlPad Physical iPhone Game Controller to Use Bluetooth

The iControlPad, a device nearing production that will bring physical gaming controls to the iPhone, has been delayed due to being forced to use Bluetooth rather than the dock connector.

The device is a snap-on game controller that you’ll place your iPhone inside, and thus provide it with PlayStation controller style controls complete with two analogue sticks, a D-Pad, and rear mounted triggers. It’s undeniably large and bulky, but does contain its own battery to help boost gameplay time and will remove the frustrations of the on screen controllers. The company has said that Android phones will also be supported through the use of different plastic brackets at the side.

However, the makers have been forced into a last minute change of plan, switching from the dock connector to Bluetooth, due to Apple requiring a licence for third-party devices that make use of the iPhone dock connector.

However, the iControlPad team now finds itself requiring help from developers that are familiar with Bluetooth support in iOS4, so if that’s you, be sure to get in touch with them.

Do hurry though, as we’re keen to try out the intriguing looking iControlPad, which could make touch screen phones far more satisfying to use as gaming machines, even if it does make them a little less portable.

Via: Slashgear.


September 29, 2010, 11:22 am

Wow that thing is big and ugly


September 29, 2010, 12:16 pm

Agreed, it looks like a relic from the 1980s! couldn't they have at least managed a little style to match the iphone?


September 29, 2010, 1:57 pm

So, after all the hullabaloo about touch controls being better/cooler/more intuitive than joypads, the iPhone gets... a joypad.

Someone at Nintendo must be smiling a knowing smile.


September 29, 2010, 2:04 pm

@FutureAlien: Was there much hullabaloo? I think most people just realised that having such physical controls attached permanently to a device would've made it look somewhat ridiculous. As an add-on it makes perfect sense - I'm amazed it has taken so long.


September 29, 2010, 3:25 pm

Ergonomics? It looks like a cartridge from a NES. I would be far too embarrassed to use that on public transport, which surely is where 99% of iPhone gaming takes place.


September 29, 2010, 3:27 pm

@FutureAlien I concur with Ed. Given he iPhone's reported share of the mobile gaming market, this development is long overdue. Technology is converging. Your TV is now your access to the Internet and so is your phone. Who really wants to carry two pieces of tech when one will do. After all I suppose that's why Microsoft integrated Live into the New Windows Phone OS (even if it might fail in comparison to Apple)


September 29, 2010, 4:45 pm

@FutureAlien - I'm with you on this one. When I read the story I had to doublecheck it wasn't April 1st, I thought someone was having a laugh.

Cracked me up at any rate. Makes me even more glad that I got a touchphone with a physical keypad so I've got the flexibility - and I can see what's on the screen when I'm typing....


September 29, 2010, 4:48 pm

@Ed & HDRE: In my (admittedly non-expert) opinion, the iPhone's big share of the mobile gaming market is because of, not in spite of, its touch controls. However, I like to differentiate between mobile gaming (on phones) and portable gaming (on a PSP or NDS). Mobile games are aimed at the "public transport" gamer and, as such, are usually a pick-up-and-play affair, as the player is expected to spend no more than several minutes at a time on them. Portable games, on the other hand, are aimed at the "long distance traveller" or the "gamer on vacation" and are usually more involved, which means they require a more complex control scheme.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying mobile games are worse than portable games, they're just different. As a mobile gaming device, the iPhone (as well as the iPod Touch) is great, but the addition of physical controls means people using it as a portable gaming device as well. I can appreciate that technology is converging and that some people want less devices to carry, but from my experience, convergence usually brings small or big compromise - you can probably use one end of a pair of scissors as a knife, but it will be more awkward than using a proper knife, so people carry a Swiss Army knife that has both. In my opinion, there is no device that can claim to be the Swiss Army knife of mobile gadgets.

As for Nintendo, the DS devices have both touch and physical controls, which means they play both "mobile" and "portable" games, hence the knowing smile.


September 29, 2010, 5:26 pm

@FutureAlien: I've currently got Streets of Rage on my iPhone. Among the reasons I don't play it much is I find the onscreen controls awkward and I'm sure many other people do. So long as developers support devices like this, I think it'll really take off. You can use the physical controls when at home and the onscreen ones when on the move, and it's certainly not so big that it's impractical to throw in a bag and take with on holiday, to the park, on your travels, etc.

Nick G

September 29, 2010, 6:08 pm

Good idea conceptually but that looks like a cheap piece of rubbish! Look at the moulding marks! Hope that's just a prototype because if it's the final product, no iPhone owner will touch it.


September 29, 2010, 8:07 pm

I wonder what happens when the player receives a call mid game? you look a bit stupid talking with the controls clipped on.


September 29, 2010, 8:34 pm

@Kaurisol: Makes me even more glad that I got a touchphone with a physical keypad so I've got the flexibility

You not heard of bluetooth keyboards then? I think they give you real flexibility.

I don't think I'll ever go back to a phone with a keyboard, what a waste of space, and that's coming from someone who used to use the Nokia 9000 series phones. And unless your phone is something like the NGage it's not even the same thing.


September 29, 2010, 10:01 pm

@FutureAlien: I agree.

@Ed: I'm amazed you're amazed it took so long. There aren't any physical controller attachments because Apple doesn't want them. This one isn't going to magically enable your Streets of Rage iPhone version to be played using it either. I should imagine it requires a jailbroken iPhone and possibly even then an emulated ROM.


September 29, 2010, 11:39 pm

I still think the best solution to this is a slide out gamepad instead of a qwerty keyboard. It may be niche but with the current emulators out there and the power of mobile GPU chips gaming on them would surpass any current handheld model.

Nintendo will sell as many 3DS handhelds as they can make but how long until people wont bother with decicated devices? In my eyes the biggest problem is controls, sort that out and nintendo is really in trouble. Each year the price will comedown until it becomes a no brainer. Handhelds generally have a 5 year plus lifespan, not anymore.

They will still sell well due to parents buying into nintendo (and gamers, they do make great 1st party titles) but they won't have the market to themselves anymore.


September 30, 2010, 1:46 am

Funny thing the portable gaming market, I have a DS which I don't use much at all - it had more use when I commuted on the train. However tend to pick up my phone for a quick game on something now and again, don't worry about things like carrying cartridges around so am up for convergence. However battery life is a big problem, my HTC Desire dropped about 35% in power between leaving the house about 06:00 to getting back about 17:00 and all I did was a couple of short calls and a couple of emails all day. Imagine what would happen if I played a lot of games on it, heaven knows what battery life is like for people that for example have more than one email account to sync on it - all I sync is my Facebook and Gmail.....


October 4, 2010, 3:42 pm

Having been amazed by Epic Citadel on my iPod Touch I'd love to see a proper controller add on for the iPhone/Touch. Right now it's an extremely impressive demo which is wasted because of the (lack of) controls.

I don't think I'd carry the add on around but I'd be happy to use it at home to get more out of my Touch.


35% is fantastic for 11 hours. Mine would be more like 60-70%.


October 4, 2010, 8:23 pm

@ravmania: 35% is fantastic for 11 hours. Mine would be more like 60-70%.

Eh!! Mattj said -> and all I did was a couple of short calls and a couple of emails all day.

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