PhoneJoy is one of many companies putting together controllers for iOS devices, but unlike, say, the Gameloft-only Duo Gamer controller, PhoneJoy is aiming to make their button pad as accessible and open as possible. The company successfully raised funds through Kickstarter last year, and here on the floor of CES, they were showing off a few different prototypes of the controller, heading into production as soon as April.
The controller itself is a sturdy little piece of work, with four buttons, two analog sticks, and a d-pad. While one of the prototypes PhoneJoy showed us at CES didn't expand out, all of the others (and the final production model) will pull apart in two with a telescoping bar in the middle, making the controller one-size-fits-all for any smartphone you happen to have.
The controller will also be extremely compatible from a software standpoint, as it's designed to work across Bluetooth with any Android or iOS device. The models being shown at CES were running on both Android phones and an iPad, and those phones were sending off video to a much larger screen, which allowed the PhoneJoy crew to show off apps like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as if running on a console.
There will be an iCade mode on the controller, if you'd like to play with that emerging standard, but the controller will also conform to a number of other standards, including the Bluetooth HID standard, so nearly any game should work great with this one right out of the box. And the developers are considering an "iCade+" mode as well, which would add the analog stick to the usual iCade controls, to play iCade games with both joysticks.
When the controller finally arrives, hopefully around April, it should cost around US$60-70, though since PhoneJoy is still working out the components, that price isn't put into stone just yet. "We're doing the tools now," PhoneJoy's Martin Kessler told us, "and from there, we'll start doing the molds." After that, it's just a few more steps in the Hong Kong production line for the PhoneJoy controller to become real, and when it does, iOS gamers will have another really great Bluetooth controller option to play with.