Using standard gaming controllers with mobile device has always been a great way to improve the mobile gaming experience. As such, dedicated gamers have gotten PS3 controllers to work with both Windows and Android devices with third-party tweaks and apps. Thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich, Android users will no longer have to rely on third parties for this functionality, as Google has just added USB gamepad support to the OS.
This feature was also released with Android Honeycomb, but only one of the devices we talked about supported it. With the Ice Cream Sandwich release, most Android devices including phones and MIDs will be getting the feature. We don't yet know for sure, but it is likely that both Xbox and PS3 controllers will be supported, as well as PC gamepads from the likes of Logitech.
Unfortunately, gamepads will only work when actually plugged in to the devices USB ports, which means that most smaller phones and tablets would need adapters. Still, some users are claiming that the controller functionality will work well with HDMI, which means that you could turn your device into a game console with HDMI out to your tv.
Even if the functionality is somewhat limited, I think it is great that all Ice Cream Sandwich devices will be getting this feature. With enough adoption, we may even be able to get some more Android-specific controllers. Until then though, I know I will be getting out my PS3 controller as soon as my Nexus S gets the ICS update.[Phandroid]