iControlPad 2 hits Kickstarter with full keyboard, game controls, and open source
iOS gamers will likely remember the iControlPad, an accessory that launched last year to offer physical controls to the sticklers that can't abide by on-screen controls. The iControlPad guys have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their next product, the iControlPad 2. It's making a bunch of marked improvements, including open source code, a swivel mechanism to stow the controller away when not in use, and a full keyboard for typing. There's the standard stuff there too, like twin joystick nubs, shoulder buttons, and a directional pad. The open sourciness allows the iControlPad 2 to communicate with just about anything, like a Mac, Raspberry Pi development board, or just about anything with a USB port or Bluetooth connectivity. The best part about this thing is that apps don't have to be built to use it; you can teach the iControlPad 2 to relay on-screen tap commands with keypad presses.
The iControlPad 2 will have the same footprint as the iPhone 4, making it a fine option for those that aren't upgrading to the iPhone 5 (though the gamepad will work equally well with Android devices). It always drives me crazy to see games overlay traditional joystick and button controls on screen rather than exploring the relatively new realm of motion and gesture-based controls, but even for more touch-friendly games, I could imagine physical controls helping out a whole bunch. Besides, I'm sure that keyboard would see plenty of use outside of games as well.
You can head over to the iControlPad 2 Kickstarter page and lock in your order for $69.