Google Android engineer Romain Guy announced via Twitter that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will support USB game pads and HDMI. The 140 character limit message points out that users can essentially turn their Galaxy Nexus into a video game console.
There aren’t too many other details at the moment but it’s clear that users would need a micro USB adapter in order to plug in a game pad and preferably somewhere stationary to sit and place the phone while gaming.
The only other smartphone on the market to offer gamers a similar experience is the “Playstation” phone, otherwise known as Sony’s Xperia Play. The Xperia Play features a slide-out game pad complete with directional pad, four thumb buttons as well as two touch-sensitive joysticks. There are also start and select keys as well as a separate menu button.
Although it wasn’t mentioned in Guy’s post, the idea of using a controller with future Android 4.0 tablets is very appealing. Nvidia’s Tegra 3, codenamed Kal-El, is expected to launch on tablets in the near future and early video demos and benchmark results are extremely impressive. Furthermore, tablets would have a full-sized USB port so there would be no need for a micro USB adapter or any additional accessories to complete the mobile gaming experience.
No specific launch date has been announced for the Galaxy Nexus although the latest rumors point to November 10 at $299 with a two year service agreement. The Galaxy Nexus will be the first Ice Cream Sandwich device available. Other phones like the Motorola Razr are expected to get the update in early 2012.