View Full Version : iControlPad the device that can turn almost any smartphone into an Xperia Play-beater

29-05-2011, 09:39 AM
The iControlPad is a Bluetooth-based controller attachment that allows you to get that old-school vibe on practically any platform that supports Bluetooth wireless control. Using a set of replaceable clamps, this device bolts onto your touchscreen phone and turns it into a fully-fledged portable console.
You'll find an accurate and precise D-pad, four action buttons, two analogue slider pads (similar to the one seen on the freshly-launched Nintendo 3DS) and two L and R triggers.They're actually located on the back of the device, and sit under your fingers.

For now you can still use the device with Android-based programs, but you need to connect and configure it as a Bluetooth keyboard, which is quite a cumbersome procedure. As support grows, expect to see a vast array of Android games supporting the iControlPad.
Although the clamps it comes supplied with allow you to fit a wide variety of phones, it's not the perfect solution. The clamps have clearly been designed to fit snugly around the Apple iPhone 4, and as a result most other devices tend to rattle around a bit. Some phones - such as the HTC Desire HD and Nexus S - refuse to fit in the clamps at all. You can obviously still link up the iControlPad to these handsets, so it's not a complete loss.
Also, the developer is promising more clamps in the future, and these should solve the problem of your particular phone not being 100 per cent compatible with the device.
The only other item you get inside the box is a USB charging cable, which allows you to top up the iControlPad's 1350mAh rechargeable power cell. There's no software included with the iControlPad, but firmware updates are planned that will enhance the functionality of the device. These will be installed over Bluetooth.
Because this is very much a grass-roots project, the iControlPad is unlikely to make it into your local electronics retailer. You'll need to register your interest online by visiting the official iControlPad website.
If you're a retro gaming fan or you merely want to have physical gaming controls on your touchscreen phone, the iControlPad is well worth looking into. There are some teething problems - the lack of supported apps, the need to jailbreak your iPhone and the hit-and-miss approach to installing the clamps to yourphone - but these will slowly be overcome with time.
If you're tempted by the Xperia Play but don't want to trade in the iPhone 4 or Nexus S just yet, this could be the ideal solution.