Android Gamers in the UK have been using the Archos Gamepad for a little while now, considering it launched in December. Unfortunately, it's not available here in the States yet, and Archos has remained relatively hush on an actual release date.
During CES, Phil Geldard, of Archos, actually confirmed a February release for the Gamepad. He also confirmed the MSRP which will sit at a reasonable $169.
Personally, I'm pretty excited for the Archos Gamepad. I've noticed that I use my phone for mobile gaming a lot more now. I loathe touch controls as I'm sure most folks do because they just plain suck. Mobile gaming kills both my phone battery, and thus normal use of my phone mainly because it can be so hardware intensive. The Archos Gamepad looks to be ideal for mobile gaming in that context. I can actually start using my phone again as an actual phone, provided I get my hands on one of these.
Some would say the Archos Gamepad tailors to a very niche market, but since it also doubles as a 7" Android Jelly Bean tablet I would argue that point. Sure, the individual Gamepad controls mean that the Gamepad is specifically tailored for mobile gaming, but that doesn't mean it can't be used for other things.
The Archos Gamepad is actually just a tablet, so it can do pretty much anything that any other tablet can do, like streaming media, using Google Services and even getting assistance from Google Now.
For those of you who are late to the party, here are the full specs of the Archos Gamepad:
- 1.6GHz dual-core processor
- 7" capacitive touchscreen display
- 1024×600 maximum resolution
- Quad-core Mali-400 MP4 GPU
- 1GB of installed RAM
- 8GB internal storage capacity
- MicroSD expansion slot (up to 32GB)
- Front facing webcam
- Integrated Wi-Fi
- Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
In addition, to all of that hardware, Archos will also bundle a charming suite of software apps to go along with the unique gamepad controls. The most influential app being a software mapping function that allows you to map controls to the various gamepad buttons. I'm not quite sure how many third party games this will be compatible with, but I guess we'll have to wait to find out.
According to Geldard, you can use the mapping software to associate virtually any existing game controls with the integrated buttons.
If you're in the market for a tablet or portable gaming console, the Archos Gamepad might be a good bet. That is, of course if you can wait until February. On the other hand, if you're interested in playing the latest and greatest Android games, especially those lovely Tegra 4 titles, you might be better off just getting a regular tablet and buying a wireless controller separately.
Additionally, Geldard estimates that demand will be relatively high in the States when the Gamepad actually releases, so you'll need to keep your eye peeled for pre-order opportunities if you want one at launch.
I've included a demo video of the Archos Gamepad from CES that has been posted by user Charbax on Youtube (for ArmDevices.net).
As you can see in the video, the Gamepad is responsive, and easy to use. How many of you out there are excited for the February release, like me?