July 13, 2011 9:00 AM | Danny Cowan
The long international nightmare has ended. After numerous teases, delays, and no-shows from multiple accessory manufacturers, smartphone owners finally have a gamepad accessory in the iControlPad, which is now shipping to preorder customers.
The iControlPad is supported in a variety of homebrew games and emulator applications for jailbroken iOS and Android devices. Support in official App Store apps must be added on a case-by-case basis. The iControlPad creator's are optimistic that the device will earn widespread support, however, citing compatibility with Manomio's official Commodore 64 and Amiga emulator apps.
The new (sort of) technology doesn't come cheap, though. The controller itself retails for $56.99 -- shipping costs not included -- while a bundle that includes a set of phone clamps is priced at $69.99. Its creators also insist on abbreviating it as the "iCP," which is almost more unfortunate.
Price and Juggalo concerns aside, though, the device is the first manufactured control pad for smartphones to make it to market; here's hoping that it catches on, so that we finally have an alternative to that whole "virtual d-pad" nonsense. GadgetoidUK has a demonstration video here, if you want to see it in action.