As the Nintendo 3DS might come with 3G and smartphone-like features, it is also about to be the time for the smartphones to include button layouts that are optimized for advanced 3D video games. As the OpenGL ES 2.0 3D rendering is getting so advanced with the latest ARM processors, all it takes to experience advanced video gaming decently on phones is game pad buttons on each side of the screen. While capacitive touch screens and accelerometers provide the start of an idea that gaming can work on these devices, to get the best possible experience, it is just a hardware issue relating to the hardware design.
Gaming emulators seem to work great on Android, it is to be seen if Nintendo will be bold enough to offer legal access to all its old games at fair prices to licence and download legally directly from within an official Nintendo game console emulator to be released in the Android market place. I think that the best pricing strategy that they could provide is $5 subscription pricing renewed each month that the games are played offering unlimited access to all Nintendo games on the specific supported platforms. Hopefully all Nintendo game console games emulated up until Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast would be supported this way.
Another very interesting possible development, is that the portable gaming device will have so powerful graphics acceleration that it will actually be able to function as a HD video games console when connected using HDMI to the HDTV. Whether the latest portable ARM powered devices are able to render 1080p video games at full frame rates using HDMI to a HDTV, that is to be seen, but the development might be approaching that possibility. At least current hardware definitely might output Wii level quality graphics to any TV using the TV output. So the portable Android gaming device might not only compete with the Nintendo DS and the PSP, it might also compete with the Wii, XboX and Playstation 3.
Engadget is reporting on a rumor that Sony-Ericsson is preparing a 1ghz Snapdragon powered Playstation smartphone with Android 3.0 onboard. It is to be expected that Sony may want to keep exclusive access to their own games to be released for that new Android gaming platform. The slide-out gamepad design from under the device that is shown in Engadget’s mockup design, instead of the keyboard, is probably an okay solution for gamers.
I would like to see someone build a good elastic design for a wireless bluetooth gamepad accessory that can be strapped to each side of any smart phone or tablet of any size and shape and have good gaming buttons push inwards to cover as much of the screen bezel as possible. Even to snap into 4:3 gaming mode and 16:9 gaming modes as the user prefers. Thus a solution to nicely transform any Android device into an advanced video gaming device. The design below is not exactly good enough design for this idea, please let me know in the comments if you know any better design: