The trend of equipping mobile devices with physical gaming controls continued today, with ARCHOS unveiling its GamePad, an Android tablet that will be equipped with physical buttons, joysticks, and a d-pad ideal for gaming.
Though ARCHOS was light on the details, it did reveal that the GamePad is going to sport a 7-inch touchscreen in addition to its physical controls, which, judging from the press image, include two analog “joysticks” (nubs), a d-pad, four face buttons, start and back buttons, and two other auxiliary buttons (one under each analog nub).
The only other technical spec that was revealed about the upcoming GamePad was an impressive one: it will be powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor that’s combined with a Mali 400mp quad-core GPU.
Unfortunately, ARCHOS did not disclose what version of Android the GamePad will run when it gets released, though it’s safe to assume that it will be 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or later, as that was the first iteration of the OS that featured game controller support. But gamers won’t need to worry about what kind of game selection they will have access to; ARCHOS said that the GamePad will have full access to the Google Play store and all of the games it has to offer.
ARCHOS will also be including a clever “game recognition and mapping tools” feature with this tablet, which ostensibly makes the device’s physical controls compatible with games that don’t even have game controller support. So for games that don’t include physical control mapping, ARCHOS’ recognition and mapping tools can convert their virtual controls to work with the GamePad’s physical control scheme.
ARCHOS did not provide a specific release date or pricing details, but the press release did say that the GamePad would be available by the end of October 2012, and that it would be going for less than 150 Euros, or roughly $190.