Nyko, best known for making the slightly less solid and slightly less expensive console controllers you buy to save money, is getting into the Android game. Literally. Working with mobile gaming force of nature, NVIDIA, the peripherals company aims to bring "physical and familiar controls" to tablet games that run on NVIDIA processors, including, but more importantly not limited to, the Tegra 3.
The PlayPad in a variety of colors (left), and the PlayPad Pro (right).
Beginning in Fall 2012, the company will begin selling two different controllers. The PlayPad will be the smaller of the two and feature a collapsible tablet stand and carrying case, making your tablet every bit as portable of a gaming rig as a Virtual Boy. The PlayPad Pro is a bit bigger, offering some trigger buttons for extra controls. Both controllers work via Bluetooth and on any Android 3.0+ devices. Hopefully, by the time these devices come out, "Android 3.0+ devices" will be more than 10% of all Android devices out there.
If you don't have a Tegra 3 device, or a game you love isn't officially supported, don't worry. Nyko has you covered. The company will also be introducing an app called Playground that will allow backwards compatibility to apps that support keyboard mapping, touch mapping, and mouse support. The app will allow full customizability, while also bundling some presets for high-profile games. No word on which games will be supported, either directly or via Playground, yet, but with NVIDIA support, hopefully it will be a decent library of games.
Nyko is also keeping mum on pricing or availability beyond "Fall 2012," though the company's site does have a retail location finder that currently returns zero results, so we can expect that we'll see them in some stores. We'll be keeping an eye out for these devices when they get here. The Zeemote got us (and at least a thousand of you) excited about third-party controllers, but so far developers haven't been quite as enthusiastic about the idea as we'd like. With Nyko and NVIDIA pushing for it, hopefully we'll see more growth in the Android-as-a-console market.