Archos announces GamePad tablet
Thursday, August 30, 2012 12:40 PM
Archos has announced that it is preparing to launch the GamePad - an Android-powered tablet with full physical controls.
On the outside it looks rather a lot like a PlayStation Vita that has been on a liquid diet; with a slim rectangular body, D-pad, analogue sticks and large centrally-located seven-inch screen - although its similarities are not quite to the extent of the Chinese Droid X360 we reported on last month!
As you'd expect from a tablet, you can use the GamePad to browse the internet, access your emails and download apps, but the addition of physical controls brings an enhanced level of playability to Android gaming that would not be possible with a conventional touchscreen.
A particularly clever aspect to the new handheld is that Archos has come up with some internal trickery that converts existing touchscreen games for use with the GamePad's physical buttons, so developers won't even need to lift a finger.
"Thanks to the mapping and automatic game recognition systems included on the GamePad, we already have over a thousand android games compatible with the … physical controls, including back catalogue titles that originally didn't include physical controls," explains Henri Crohas, founder of the portable device firm.
The GamePad is pencilled in for an October release priced at under £130, which is obviously somewhat cheaper than the Vita. However, given that its dual-core processor is nowhere near as powerful and the fact that it is designed to run Android games only, the GamePad is likely to appeal to a different audience to its similar-looking predecessor.
Despite this, there is no doubt that conventional gaming is facing an increasing number of threats from portable jack-of-all gadgets such as the GamePad.