updated 06:34 am EST, Tue December 17, 2013
Bluetooth controller includes NFC pairing, Play button for Galaxy smartphones
Samsung is wading into the gaming market by launching a new controller accessory for smartphones. The Smartphone GamePad and accompanying Mobile Console app connects to a smartphone or tablet over Bluetooth 3.0, though Galaxy smartphones running Android 4.3 also gain NFC pairing, allowing it to offer console-style control in compatible mobile games.
Using a steel frame, the GamePad can attach to the side of a smartphone, accommodating displays ranging from 4 inches to 6.3 inches, giving it a similar appearance to the Nvidia Shield handheld gaming system. An 8-way directional pad, two analog sticks, four action buttons, two trigger buttons, and "Select" and "Start" buttons are also joined by a "Play" button, which on specific Galaxy devices will launch the Mobile Console app for quick access to compatible games and the associated game store. Samsung claims there will be 35 dedicated games at launch, with more on the way in 2014.
The GamePad is said to be available in a number of European markets now, with more expected in the coming weeks, though Samsung did not reveal if it will be heading to the US, nor its price.