Kickstarter spotlight: Bladepad

There are just so many game controllers out there now, both for Android and iOS devices, that it’s hard to imagine there being room for one more. Yet the Bladepad might actually make it, with good reason. The best way to describe it is as a accessory add-on to turn the iPhone 4S into something that resembles that Xperia Play. There’s a case piece for either the iPhone 4S or the upcoming iPhone 6 (seriously, count the iPhone models, people!) and a controller piece that attaches to the case. The controller then slides under the phone when not in use, making the whole package more pocketable (thickness aside).

The sliding mechanism is the alpha and omega of this controller. It does have true analog sticks, but that feature is a lot more dependent on specialized support for the controller than the rest of the buttons are (assuming they go for maximum compatibility on those). For some reason that I can’t fathom, the controller only supports Bluetooth 4, meaning only the iPhone 4S/iPad 3 and any future successors on iOS. Why that’s the case I have no idea, as the dozens of other controllers out there don’t have that limitation. A listed battery life comparable to the Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita (~3-4 hours) is also less than impressive.

Still, it looks like a decent controller, and the sliding mechanism makes this something I would have backed myself, had it supported Android. Making a controller with analog sticks for iOS might make sense from a sales projection point of view, but Android is so far ahead in terms of what you can actually do with analog sticks (specifically the ability to emulate touch input on rooted devices, removing the need for developer support in games) that it isn’t even funny. An Android version is apparently in the works for the future though, so I guess I’ll just cross my fingers and hope. In the mean while, iOS users (and perhaps specifically iPhone 4S users) can pledge the project to get one of these for $59 or $69, depending on how fast you are. MSRP will be $99, so there’s money to be saved if you take the risk of pledging it at the project stage either way.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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