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Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich offers better gaming support

by Kristen Nicole

The release of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is heightening consumer anticipation over new Android devices. Motorola is planning to release its first gadget with the latest OS within just six weeks. The updated Android platform shows promise for the gaming world as well, with support for game controllers. Developers found this unexpected nugget when looking through the Android 4.0 SDK, marking the first time Google’s mobile OS has natively supported game controllers.

There are hacks that allow you to use a PS3 or WiiMote controller with Android phones, but native support means that Android anticipates a lot more activity from the gaming world. While there’s still no word on exactly which controllers will be supported, the expectation is that Bluetooth controllers will be included, as well as USB-connected controllers, such as those used for the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360. Given the success of the Xperia PLAY’s game-derived button layout, support for game controllers would further open up options for developers creating titles for mobile (and even large-screen) use.

On a slightly different note, PlayStation support for Android has reared its head in another manner, with the return of psx4droid to the Android Market. The popular PlayStation emulator was kicked out the Android Market around the same time the Xperia PLAY was launched, but a new listing from a new developer has been confirmed as the real psx4droid app. It’s got some known issues at this early stage, and there’s no telling how long it will manage to remain available in the market.

Gaming is lucrative for Android

Native support for apps continues to grow, as third party platforms enable cross-device and cross-system capabilities. Appcelerator is one such provider, acquiring Particle Code to expand its HTML5 support. Particle Code is a company that appeals to game developers, partly due to its heavy focus on the developer community. The deal closes a gap for Appcelerator, which doesn’t have a strong offering for game developers. The integration of Particle Code technology will make Appcelerator’s Titanium platform more game-friendly.

Gaming has certainly become a lucrative market for Android, encouraging much consolidation across the board. G5 Entertainment and HipSoft have also teamed up to bring the entire Build-a-lot series to Android, looking to take its PC success mobile.