Uninspired name aside, Archos latest piece of hardware looks like it may be on to something
The Archos brand has been synonymous with hit or miss since the company has been pumping out personal media players for as long as I can remember. Today they've announced the GamePad, a 7-inch Android powered tablet with controls built right into the hardware. Two analog nubs join a directional pad and four face buttons to give a gamer just about every input they need, shoulder buttons possibly included. This could be a very big hit.
The GamePad is Google certified, running Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean", the latest and greatest in Google's mobile operating system. Archos has developed automatic game recognition and mapping tools, which will allow most advanced Android games to have their controls automatically mapped to the physical input with no fuss. Don't expect PeeMaster 2000 to work with the sleek dual analogs, however Shadowgun should map without issue. With full access to Google Play, you can pick from thousands of titles, any of which will function with their original touch controls should your obscure tastes be too hipster for the device.
Under the hood, GamePad is toting a dual-core 1.5 GHz processor combined with a Mali 400mp quad-core GPU, which means not quite cutting edge but way more than enough to run today's top spec Android games. No word on storage and display specifics yet, but Archos has confirmed that the GamePad will retail for under 150 euros, which is a shade under $200. I expect there to be size options which scale up with price, but more on that as the information becomes available.
As a gaming tablet, this bad boy has a lot going for it. Once you take into account the fact it's fully Google certified - Gmail, Google Play, Maps, Drive - this becomes a tablet that is very hard to turn down, especially at the curiously low sub-$200 sweet spot. Hopefully that doesn't mean skimping on the display and the build quality, something which Archos owners have bemoaned in the past. I'm intrigued, Archos. Please don't disappoint me.