Yes, SemiAccurate spent yesterday crawling both massive show floors at GDC, and we found one, yes one, innovative peripheral. (Note: The little rubber ducky was cute but not ‘innovative’) It was a Blackberry smartphone running a little app that seems blindingly obvious in hindsight. The app was written by a RIM engineer, coincidentally the same one who owns the hands on the device in the picture below.
D-Pad app, simple but brilliant
The innovation here is made possible by the Blackberry’s tight synchronization with their Playbook tablet. This allows you to open apps and media on the phone, and have it display on the Playbook. You can then use the Blackberry as a remote control for presentations and whatnot. So far, so corporate.
With this little app, instead of a remote mouse pointer, the author turned it in to a D-Pad. Yup, a fully functional touch screen D-Pad as a remote controller for the game running on the Playbook. In the picture above, the big screen is being driven by the Playbook’s HDMI port, but the same concept works for say kids in a car on a road trip.
It is simple, brilliant, and thinking outside the box. Once someone does it, it seems so obvious, but we can’t find anyone that actually did it before now, so hats off to Blackberry engineers for pushing the gaming frontiers. All they need to do now is allow you to customize your controller, and it could make the phone + Playbook combo a nifty gaming platform. Who would have thought anyone would say that about RIM?S|A