updated 03:25 pm EST, Thu January 26, 2012
Steam Mobile live for iOS and Android
Valve has partly fulfilled one of the most common wishes of gamers Thursday by posting Steam Mobile. Versions for both iOS (App Store) and Android (Market) lets users both keep up with their Steam chats and groups while away. They can go so far as to buy games for the Mac or Windows that they can start downloading immediately when they get home.
Without any mobile apps on Steam itself, gamers can't buy titles that they can run directly from the device and thus don't have the option of using it to launch games or otherwise duplicate the full functionality of Steam. The interface borrows a page from Facebook's iOS app and hides the core features in a slide-out tray that lets users keep the full screen for the task at hand.
The current apps are optimized only for smaller screens and have to scale up on tablets. On iOS, it needs a device that can run at least iOS 4.0. Android users need Android 2.1 or newer and can use it on 4.0.
It's not clear if Steam Mobile could ever directly compete with Game Center given Apple's App Store policies, but it could theoretically stand in for at least Android, which doesn't have an equivalent. Most inter-game systems on either platform are in-app only approaches like OpenFeint that focus more on score tracking than any kind of multiplayer play.