It’s no secret that Android gaming has been taking off this last year. So why should it be a surprise that tablet makers and such are all hopping on board trying to build the next gaming device? First you have tablets like the transformer series, then the nexus 7, and then we have the Ouya on the horizon next year and now the Archos. The difference between all of these, perhaps except for the Ouya when it launches, is that there is no native controller to use. That’s where the Archos gamepad comes in. Roll out your red carpets and throw roses at its feet (if it had any I suppose), for the Archos is nearly upon us. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love my nexus 7. I wouldn’t trade it for another tablet out there. No sir. Or mam. But, I can tell you that a gamepad tablet that carries with it onboard physical controls is very enticing when it comes to playing certain games. I’m a huge fps fan, so this a big deal for games like Shadowgun and Dead Trigger. It also could come in handy for racers as well. Why would anyone want this you ask? Well, perhaps because it’s the perfect hand-held size for gaming on the go with a 7 inch capacitive touch display, runs android 4.0, sports a dual core processor with a quad core gpu, and will cost less than my fabled nexus 7 tablet. Is that enough of a reason? Should be.
So down to the nitty-gritty. The gamepad will house a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and wow us (hopefully) with a quad-core mali 400 MP GPU to enhance all of our visual gaming needs. This will come in handy if you want to play games like Dead Trigger or Horn from phosphor games. (When it’s released of course, which should have been by now, but that’s neither here nor there.) All of that and I still haven’t mentioned anything about the controller buttons themselves. All this power is great but is does no good if you have nothing to steer with right? Well leave it to Archos to think of this factor and they have listened to the gamers out there who don’t want to mess with touch controls. You can expect the traditional D-Pad, and four face buttons for fragging, reloading, mele hits, turbo boosts and all the other things those buttons do for us in game, (steady workhorses they are), it looks to have a couple of bumper buttons up top as well, and of course, the dual analog sticks. You can’t have a gamepad without these anymore. It’s just the way gaming controllers have evolved. Now to those of you out there that say that a 7 inch tablet is just too small to game on. You’d be wrong. It’s quite the perfect size. It’s comfortable, the screen is well big enough to see every detail, and its lightweight and portable. Speaking from playing many, many games(the same games as on my nexus tab) on my transformer prime, 7 inches is just much more comfortable to use in a lot of cases. Looks like the other competition gamepad tablet will have its work cut out for it. In case you don’t know im speaking of the wiki-pad.
Now the best part in my opinion, is that Archos says the gamepad will be Google certified. You know what that means. Yes. Full and unrequited access to the play store and all of its games. Gaming on a kindle fire? Non sense. Who wants limited access to the games they SHOULD be able to play. Not me. Not to mention full native support of google’s other apps like gmail, maps, calendar etc. The only weird thing for me here would just be using maps on this device. Although I could see how it would be kinda cool to control the map pan and view with the analog sticks instead of your fingers. If you’re wondering just how you might be able to control all those games that otherwise don’t have native support for controllers, well, Archos has you covered there too. They say that the gamepad will be using a “patented tech” that automatically recognizes the game and maps the on-screen controls to the buttons on the gamepad itself. Thus, allowing usability of the physical keys. Pretty slick no? I always wondered how they would get that to work. If this technology works half as well as how cool it sounds, then it’ll be a nifty little piece of equipment to hold in your gaming arsenal.
Now there is no pricing listed as of yet, although Archos is teasing the EU price tag a little bit at “less than â‚¬150” which more or less equates to $188 US. Very impressive given the components making up the inside of the gamepad. Archos is definitely making a valiant effort to enter the android gaming space here and if they pull this off they could likely make waves and revolutionize Android gaming on the go. Notice I said “on the go”, as I am a very big supporter and believer of the Ouya, which in my opinion will be “changing the game” so to speak as a whole for the industry and not just Android. The only rough edges I see here are the fact that we have no information whatsoever on the quality of the display. Which is concerning, given that a good display is a huge piece of gaming at an enjoyable level. Archos says that the gamepad is coming in October. So we won’t have to wait long to see how the screen looks and how those sexy controls actually “Control” those games we love to play so much.