Archos, a veteran manufacturer of media players and Android tablets, just announced the GamePad, an Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) gaming tablet. Spec information is scant for now, but the tablet sports a 7-inch capacitive touch display, physical controls, a dual-core 1.5GHz processor and a quad-core Mali 400MP GPU.
It is slated to ship simultaneously in Europe and the US by the end of October for “less than 150€” (about $189 US at today’s rate). Unlike some of their previous generation budget-friendly tablets, Archos’ GamePad is Google certified and will have full access to Google Apps and Google Play.
The tablet’s controls include a D-pad, dual analog sticks, standard XYAB 4-button configuration, and right and left bumper buttons. From the product image released by Archos, it also appears to have front facing speakers, volume buttons below the analog sticks, start and select buttons, and possibly a webcam.
With a release date just around the corner, it’s likely the final specs of the GamePad aren’t far from finalization. Archos has yet to mention details like RAM, internal storage and screen resolution, which are expected to be on the lower-end given the device’s price point.
While the already announced specs aren’t too shabby, the Android world has already started moving towards a quad-core norm. However, at a price of under $189, it’ll be hard to complain as the 1.5GHz dual-core CPU and Mali GPU should be more than enough to handle the current crop of Android games.
Archos may be the first to market an Android-based handheld gaming device but they were not the first to announce one. Wikipad made waves in the gadget and gaming community earlier this year when they announced their 10″ gaming-centric tablet, the aptly-named Wikipad. Unlike the GamePad, their device incorporates physical game controls via a docking cradle, which allows you to use it like any other tablet when not gaming.
To say the tablet market is saturated would be an understatement. With literally dozens of manufacturers hocking their Android-powered wares, it can be difficult to make their devices stand out. Companies like Archos and Wikipad saw an opportunity in a niche that has yet to be exploited in any meaningful way. With the open nature of Android, we’re starting to see a serious challenge against the gaming status quo. There’s still a long way to go but having one eco-system with a multitude of hardware and pricing options gives the consumer unprecedented choice. And choice is always a good thing.