The Coco Controller could be the most attractive and reasonably priced way of leaving your slippery-fingered smart phone gaming woes behind -- if its Kickstarter is a success.
Created by Harvard drop-outs Connor Zwick and Colton Gyulay, the device aims to provide a console-based gaming experience for the price of a smart phone case.
The controller is designed to fit the current iPhone 4 and 4S, the Samsung Galaxy S3, the latest iPod touch, and (they reckon) the upcoming iPhone 5, so for the time being it looks like a promising enterprise. I mean, it's not like any previous Harvard drop-outs have done anything spectacularly successful in the tech industry is it?
Importantly, the Coco Controller avoids any annoying battery and circuitry issues by communicating and being powered via the audio jack, rather than Bluetooth. This will make it easier to use, more reliable, and hopefully save on weight.
The smart phone slots into the plastic casing, which houses a multi-axis directional pad, one analogue stick, four action buttons, and two trigger buttons. This familiar layout could be crucial in persuading gamers to try it.
The controller is already compatible with 35 iOS games, none of which are particularly well known at the moment (with the likes of Pure Fun Soccer and Warm Gun), but the guys are hoping for thousands more by the time Coco ships.
There are competitors for the Coco Controller to consider in its quest for world domination. Power A's Moga Controller, set to be released later this year, and the iControlPad are both bulkier, separate units that attach in a slightly clumsy manner to your beloved telephone. The Coco Controller is as cool as a coconut in comparison, with its sleek, uncompromising design niftily fitting around the phone as an all-encompassing gaming companion.
It's hard to comment without having the product to hand, but Coco could make the iPhone and S3 even fiercer competition in the handheld console market, snapping harder at the heels of giants such as Sony and Nintendo. All being well and the Coco could raise the casual profile of smart phone gaming to a more competitive level.
Thinking ahead, Milkshake Labs -- Coco's producers -- are hoping it will be used as a controller for big-screen gaming through AirPlay mirroring, as well as dual-screen gaming (pictured above), which will widen the appeal of the controller to not just commuter gamers, but also the casual home player too.
This brings it dangerously into the sights of Ouya, the new Android-powered console now available to preorder. Having said that, Ouya's commitment to home gaming is likely to make it the couch potato's Android-powered console of choice.
The overriding question that's been brought about by these two likely lads is, why buy a dedicated handheld gaming console such as the 3DS or Vita when your phone -- plus Coco companion -- can be perfectly capable of offering much the same experience?
It could be a while until the Coco is nestled firmly in your pocket, however, as Milkshake is hoping to boost its current kickstarter fund from its current total of $17,000 to an ambitious $175,000 over the next 27 days. Best of luck to them -- you can contribute $57 (£36, including international shipping) and bag yourself a black or white version. There are several different options above that mark too.
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