Mobile gaming is on the rise, no doubt about that, but some games are still awkward to play on a flat screen that lacks that tactile feel. There are various accessories out there that try to resolve this problem and Samsung is also rolling out its own with the new Smartphone GamePad and the accompanying Mobile Console Android app
As a gamepad, Samsung's version has everything you'll need. An 8-way D-Pad, two analog sticks, four action buttons and two triggers, and, of course, the start and pause buttons. There's also a dedicated PLAY button but we'll get into that later. The GamePad is designed to hold smartphones with sizes ranging from 4 to 6.3 inches, which covers most of Samsung's mid to high-end lineup all the way up to the gigantic Galaxy Mega 6.3. It connects via Bluetooth 3.0 and pairs through NFC when available. It only requires smartphones to be running Android 4.1 but 4.3 is preferred. In fact, the poster child for this accessory is, unsurprisingly, the Galaxy Note 3.
The PLAY button located smack in the middle of the GamePad can be used to launch the new Mobile Console app which is basically a launcher that revolves around the GamePad. It displays games that support the Samsung GamePad, which, at the moment, is composed of 35 games, including titles such as Need For Speed, Asphalt 8: Airborne, Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour, Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame. There are more games promised to come next year. However, the biggest question that comes to mind when talking about peripherals of this kind is whether it will work with existing games that do not have explicit support for it, like the way the Archos GamePad works. Here's a short video of the GamePad and the app working together.
The Samsung Smartphone GamePad is only available in a black color configuration. No price info has been dropped but it is said to be currently available in Europe with other markets soon to follow. The Mobile Console app can be downloaded from Samsung's own app store or by pressing the PLAY button, which will offer to install the app if it isn't yet.