Archos already has its hands in the kiddie-tablet market, with its 7-inch Arnova Child Pad, and it's taking on the productivity-minded crowd with its keyboard-toting 101 XS. Now the company is going after another niche segment with the just-announced GamePad. The 7-inch slate runs Android 4.0 with a dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz and a quad-core Mali 400 MP GPU, and it sports physical gaming controls in addition to the standard touchscreen. Archos includes its own "game recognition and mapping tools," which ensure that the physical buttons are compatible with Android games that use virtual controls (some 1,000 titles are apparently compatible with the GamePad at this point). Of course, this is an internet-enabled device as well, and it will include full access to the Play market and WiFi connectivity when it goes on sale at the end of October. Other specs include 8GB of internal storage, plus a microSD card slot that adds up to 64GB. There's also a mini-HDMI connection for outputting content to your TV. For now, Archos is only announcing pricing as "less than €150", and the device will drop in the US and Europe at the same time. For now, the below-the-break press release will have to satisfy your curiosity.
ARCHOS combines physical gaming controls with a full Android-powered tablet to create the GamePad
Denver, CO – August 29, 2012 - ARCHOS, an award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, is proud to announce their first gaming tablet. This new type of tablet, the GamePad, combines gaming controls with Android for a full tablet and gaming experience in one. Gamers will not only have access to all their favorite games, they will also have access to email, Internet, apps and more through one device.
The GamePad features a 7-inch, capacitive screen, physical control buttons and analog sticks. This Google certified tablet has full access to Google PlayTM for the tens of thousands of games available, runs a dual-core processor @ 1.5 GHz combined with a Mali 400mp quad-core GPU. In addition, the GamePad includes automatic game recognition and mapping tools – patented technology to ensure control compatibility with every advanced Android game.
Until now, tablets provided gamers with touch controls that lacked response and compatibility for their advanced games, providing a disappointing gaming experience. As one of the main tablet uses, there is a strong need for a tablet that does more for gaming. Thanks to the complete touch and physical controls of the ARCHOS GamePad, Gamers can enhance their experience starting at the end of October 2012 for less than 150€.
"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, ARCHOS Founder and CEO.
Some leading game developers have already embraced the physical controller support that was introduced with ICS rendering their apps compatible with the physical controls of the GamePad or with game controllers plugged into tablets or phones.
However many games originally did not include physical control mapping, which is why ARCHOS developed their mapping and game recognition tool; a patented technology that allows any virtual controls to be mapped the GamePad's physical control buttons.
"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," continued Crohas.
Over the past six months, ARCHOS has been discussing the GamePad with leading Android game developers around the world to make their games compatible with the GamePad's physical controls and now we invite others to participate.
Developers interested in getting their current and upcoming games mapped for the ARCHOS GamePad can contact GamePad@archos.com.