Handheld consoles don't seem to be the hot commodities that they used to be back before everyone owned smartphones, but don't tell Archos there isn't a market for such a thing. Not only does Archos believe there is, the company is betting big on it by launching its Android-powered 'GamePad' device with a 7-inch capacitive display and physical gaming control buttons and analog sticks.
The idea is to deliver a full tablet and gaming experience in a single device, Archos says. Underneath the hood is a dual-core processor running at 1.5GHz and a Mali 400 MP quad-core GPU for pixel pushing power. The GamePad has automatic game recognition and mapping tools to ensure control compatibility with every advanced Android game, the company claims.
"When Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, was first released they included game controller support within the framework and that is when we decided to build the GamePad," says Henri Crohas (PDF), Archos founder and CEO. "Thanks to the mapping and automatic game recognition systems included on the GamePad, we already have over a thousand android games compatible with the Archos GamePad’s physical controls, including back catalog titles that originally didn’t include physical controls."
The GamePad will feature Wi-Fi connectivity and full access to the Google Play store when it launches in October. Pricing hasn't been revealed, other than saying it will cost "less than 150€" (~US$188).