I'm going to be honest, when Mad Catz announced the $300 controller/stand/keyboard/Bat'leth that is the LYNX 9, I thought the company had gone off the deep end. But their latest Bluetooth combo gadget actually looks sort of cool. Say hello to the The S.U.R.F.R (yeah, the names haven't gotten any better), a Bluetooth controller that crams in a thumb-sized keyboard in a pocket-friendly form factor. Mad Catz will be showing it off at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

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The SURFR crams a Blackberry-style physical keyboard in between a full set of gaming keys. The layout itself is novel: the standard ABXY buttons surround a joystick on the right side, enabling controls for both standard 2D games and newer fare that relies on twin thumbsticks for movement. It also doubles as a mouse cursor - handy if you're using it for Android TV or in conjunction with an HDMI-out device. I can't tell whether it's possible or practical to use both the buttons and the stick at once, but I'm game to try it out.

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The overall design isn't bad either. The SURFR includes extended palm grips for better comfort, standard trigger buttons, and a detachable clip for smartphones so it can switch between phones or tablets and set-top boxes. It will be available in three different colors and it will sell for $79.99, with an estimated retail launch set for May.

It looks like "surprisingly not insane" is the theme of Mad Catz' MWC offerings, because the company has also announced the LYNX 3, the "L.Y.N.X.9’s Lil’ Bro." It's got the same weird fold-out design as the LYNX 9, but omits the keyboard and tablet dock for a more portable compact mode. It keeps the console-style control setup and the flip-up phone holder. The LYNX 3 will cost a more reasonable $69.99, and it will also be available in May.

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Press Release

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. (“Mad Catz”) (NYSE MKT/TSX: MCZ) announced today the S.U.R.F.R, a wireless media and game controller designed to integrate seamlessly into today’s connected living room, and portable enough take with you anywhere you want to go.

Seamlessly integrating with Bluetooth® enabled devices, the S.U.R.F.R provides uncompromised control to smart TV’s running Android TV, Android powered streaming media devices, such as the Amazon® Fire TV and the Mad CatzM.O.J.O.Micro-Console for Android as well as connected devices including smartphones, tablets and home theater PC’s.

Featuring a full QWERTY Keyboard and mouse capabilities along with integrated media controls, the S.U.R.F.R makes it easy to surf the web, navigate media, and stay connected via text or social media. And when you’re ready to game, theS.U.R.F.R delivers true gamepad control, with action buttons positioned around dual analog thumb sticks. Four buttons positioned on the left thumb stick mimic D-pad control, while buttons on the right serve as the traditional four action buttons commonly found on console style controllers. This unique configuration allows the controller to remain compact yet highly ergonomic during use.

“Today’s living room is rapidly evolving beyond proprietary cable boxes and gaming consoles. While consumers continue to gravitate towards connected devices as their preferred platform for streaming digital media content, gaming, surfing the web and social media, current controllers just don’t deliver on the experience they desire. The S.U.R.F.R has been designed to get the most out of these different devices we are now accustomed to in our daily lives,” said Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz. “We are confident in the multiple opportunities presented by the S.U.R.F.R and look forward to it contributing to sales of our GameSmart suite of connected products throughout 2015 and beyond.”

For gaming-on-the-go, the S.U.R.F.R features a removable mobile clip for docking a smartphone.

Mad Catz’ S.U.R.F.R will debut March 1, 2015, at MobileFocus® Global 2015 in Barcelona, and will be on display the next day at Mobile World Congress in the Silicon Image®/MHL® booth, located in hall 7, number 7F31.

For additional information please visit: http://madcatz.com/gamesmart_surf_r/