One of these days, we're finally going to figure this whole buttons problem for Android devices. While touchscreens are great, the tactile feeling of physical controls will always have its appeal. Some solutions are better than others, but maybe the Wikipad can find the sweet spot. The tablet comes with an attached set of game controls that can be removed, leaving the player with a regular 7" Tegra 3 tablet.
If you've spent any time gaming on Android, you probably remember OpenFeint. Nearly every major game integrated it in some way, usually allowing players to log in with a single username, collect achievements, and post scores to a global leaderboard. It was handy for what it did, but if you didn't care about competing, it felt a lot like obnoxious spamware. Unsurprisingly, it closed down in December of last year. Today, however, it's being sort of reborn as OpenKit, a project headed by one of the co-founders of the original service.
If you're into classic games – everything from arcade throwbacks to more modern Playstation titles – then you may have a handful of game emulators installed on your various devices. Now, thanks to an open source, multi-console emulator called RetroArchthat just made its way to Android after six months in the making, you can do away with the collection of emulators and get all your old school gaming action in one place.
Remember when developers got their pre-release Ouya kits and started showing them off? In those videos, the controllers looked kinda crummy. Thankfully, the company said those were absolutely not indicative of the final design that will go out to consumers. Turns out, they really weren't! The company has detailed some changes and they sound pretty good.
For starters, the D-pad design has changed from a disconnected disc to the typical cross style that we've all gotten used to since the NES.
Like a lot of you, I watched NVIDIA's press conference with my jaw firmly on the floor when Project Shield was unveiled. It's a true Android gaming portable, built from the ground up to make a great gaming experience - not a phone or a tablet that also plays games, with varying degrees of efficiency, like Sony's now outdated Xperia Play or Archos' Gamepad. And it's made by NVIDIA, the company with the most to gain by expanding the platform's gaming horizons.
Back when I reviewed the original MOGA controller, I had two problems with the controller. First off, the software was cumbersome (though I didn't cover using third-party drivers to use it with emulators or anything like that), and secondly, while it was a good size, it still felt just a little too small. Well, the MOGA Pro solves at least one of these problems by being bigger, better, and more button-y.
After about 45 minutes of casual sexism and awkward pauses, NVIDIA's Jen-Hsun Huang dropped the bomb. Project Shield is a handheld gaming console running pure, unmodified Android (Jelly Bean). At its core is the newly-announced Tegra 4 ARM chip, but that's not all.
Update: Official video of Project Shield:
The device looks like a standard wireless controller with a flip-up screen. Around the back are I/O ports, and there's no proprietary nonsense here.
Okay, so sure, OnLive still exists, but given its financial woes and general instability, it's unlikely that the company will be investing in any new hardware or infrastructure. This is a shame, because NVIDIA just dropped some sweet-looking server racks on us at CES. While it bears more than a little resemblance to the GeForce GRID program, the NVIDIA GRID features the ability to support 24 concurrent users on a single node.
It was only a matter of time after the dev units shipped out that we could expect to see a thorough walkthrough on the part of a new owner, and here it is. Some of what we're seeing in this trio of videos, we've already seen in the official Ouya unboxing. However, a few new details have been highlighted. For starters, in the top center of the controllers, there are touchpads that can be used for cursor control.
As we close out 2012 and move into the new year, all of the tech world is eagerly awaiting the arrival of one, unique product with bated breath and eager curiosity: Google Glass. But for those of us who don't have $1500 to shell out on prototypes of that thing (and a time machine to travel back to I/O '12 to order them), we're distracting ourselves with Ouya, the Android-based gaming console.