As more and more third-party controllers enter the mobile market, the wicked small base that wants something physical in their hands as they play games becomes steadily more fractured. It's through this lens that we view the latest controller to catch our all-seeing eye, the Bladepad. It's an NES-like controller with an admittedly cool hook: it's thin, slide-out design theoretically makes it possible for you to carry around the phone with the controller firmly attached. Other products, including ION's upcoming PSP-alike shell, obviously don't embrace portability like this does.

How it works is explained on its web site:

Bladepad’s case fits around your phone and a razor-thin gamepad slides out from beneath the case. The gamepad can also be removed from the case for enhanced mobility and convenience.

No word on when this will be released, or if it's even actually in some sort of production phase. The page does mention that the company behind Bladepad is actively looking for developers to support the device, so get ready for some weird splintering or a lackluster show of support upon release.

  • http://twitter.com/crunchewy Crunchewy

    Those buttons look like they wouldn't be the most responsive. They look ridiculously thin. I would love to find out that isn't the case, though.

    • http://twitter.com/Bladepad Bladepad

      Bladepad just launched on Kickstarter!   http://kck.st/QvYDai

  • http://twitter.com/Brendan_Charles Brendan Charles

    Looks like an awesome product! Not sure if I'd want to dedicate my entire case to a controller, but definitely a cool idea!

  • ianlogsdon

    I dont know why companies are so focused on older, 4 direction based controllers, can we get some analog sticks? Bluetooth 4.0 and an SDK for integrating into shooters and you'll be king of the heap, cheap electronic product manufacturers!

    • http://buzzabit.com/aaron/ Aaron Sullivan

      Analog doesn't work too well when emulated via keypresses, which is the only way to get iOS devices previous to 4S to work with blue tooth. Hopefully this all changes soon. There is a rumor about Apple making movement in this area, but it seems pretty weak to me.

      I do like this design. Something that doesn't inhibit the portability or hand held nature of iOS devices is needed. This is the best I've seen yet.

      Since this is all beginning to gain traction since the iCade started getting mass attention maybe it's time for Apple to step in and make the fragmentation go away either via API or a spec or something. :) 

  • http://twitter.com/DaKleine Mark

    from the video: "Its revolutionary design is changing the mobile gaming industry by completely eliminating any need for dedicated handheld gaming devices [...]"

    uhm, the biggest difference and problem isn't the controlls, it's the games... 

    • B3nlok

      Hum...no. Controls comes first. *Games* is the last piece on the puzzle .You will first need to have a larger userbase willing to pay way more than 4,99 for big titles (read hardcore-dedicated gamers); to achieve that market IMO 2 things are essencials ;
      1.Bleeding edge specs and horsepower for console-quality graphics (Apple is on the right track)
      2.Physical-Tradicional controls (yes, with a bit of practice touch controls can work just fine on console-esque games like MC3, but in the end its more like an obstacle for tradicional-hardcore gamers and developers as well)
       When number 2 finally arrives as an IOs Universal Gamepad along with a Appstore overhaul yes, AAA titles will shine on IDevices.

      • http://twitter.com/DaKleine Mark

        What I was saying is that iOS games aren't even close to the overall quality of console games and controlls aren't the reason for that. It is surprising how much one can do with a touchscreen and if the developers know how to use it controlls are usually the least of your problems

    • Decoy_Octopus

      I say the problems with both games and controls.

  • Adams Immersive

    That things has a wicked small base. Perfect for the wicked small base.

  • jindofox

    A "razor-thin" game pad? I don't want that in my hand. Certainly not in my pocket.

  • Lamar Taylor

    Biggest issue with 3rd party accessories is will developers support it. Ideas and concepts look great on paper but if very few games support this controller...then it is worthless.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      That's why I'm barely even excited about posting these anymore. So far the only controller that's taken off in any kind of meaningful way is the iCade, and even that seems like a niche market inside of a niche market inside of a niche market.

      • AlienSpaceDev

        I can tell you as a developer that the more of these products that come out, the less I'm inclined to want to support any of them.  At some point there's just too many different ones to support, too much duplicated code and effort on the dev's part, and too little gain.  Apple needs to come up with a standard controller add-on (something like this one).  Only then can you get a critical mass of dev/game support and customers purchasing to justify the dev time.

      • Tim Holman

        AlienSpaceDev, I'm not even a developer, nor do I know how to code for that matter, but I still totally agree with you. I've been having this thought more and more every time I see new announced controllers. I figure it's a lot of trouble for a dev just to implement gamepad compatibility for even just one, let alone every time "the next best thing" comes out. Apple does need to do this for there iOS devices, so there is a solid accessory to stand behind.

  • Lloyd

    if the buttons are actual switches as opposed to touch sensitive panes, then this could be really great. But I have a feeling that they are touch sensitive. Right there defeats the whole purpose of a controller for an iphone. you want to be able to feel the buttons under your fingers before you press them, not hover them above the surface making it hard to hit the right button without looking at it.

  • http://twitter.com/tribalplague Gilbert Palau

    Just when the chick said, "Get one or get pwnd" just made me wanted to get one... /sarcasm

    • Troutmagnet

      I like how she sounds like the late teen sister of one of the developers. I wonder how many takes they had to make to get rid of all the "like"s and "totally"s?

      • Lloyd

        she also calls the buttons "buh'huns".

  • Troutmagnet

    I think Apple just has to man up and release a high quality default joypad API, that way it really doesn't matter what format the hardware takes, it'll be officially supported by all devices and all iDevices.

  • http://twitter.com/VULTR3 Mike

    But... It'll cut up your hands!

  • JCat_NY

    I'll stick with touch screens, and games which intelligently utilize this input over this device. The iCade however, is still a good solution for retro fans that want to capture a coin-op vibe (for ipad of course). That's the first time I've heard the expression "pwned" in about two years.

  • riviery

    FINALLY someone make this happen. I've seen slide-out keyboards for iPhone since 2010, but, until now, nobody has been made a controller using the same idea. I couldn't wait this come to market.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RobJohnson90 Rob Johnson

    That's why too thin to be comfortable

  • http://twitter.com/davetrav Dave Travers

    I really hope Apple sees this design and perfects it.  Then it would be cool if they offered a gaming version of the iPhone along side a regular version in their next launch. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/vbataille76 Valentin Bataille

    I just backed it on Kickstarter ! I hope this project will be successful. It looks way better than it was 4 months ago.
    It's compatible with iPhone 4s and the future iPhone 5

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bladepad/bladepadthe-detachable-iphone-gamepad

  • chriscambell

    I think this type of controller isn't feasible. It's too thin and flimsy to satisfy the desire for a real control pad. I'm holding out for a proper peripheral like an Xbox 360 style controller that you can sync to your phone. Touch screen works just fine for on the go and if I want to sit down for an hour to play a shooter then I'll make sure I've got a controller with me. Until we get something like that I'll steer well clear of control pads for ios.