Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Can Turn Your Galaxy Nexus Into A Video Game Console


With Android Honeycomb we saw the introduction of USB hosting, allowing for connectivity with device like a USB hard drive or USB gamepad (like the Xbox 360 controller) on a tablet for use with games or emulators. In case there was any doubt that this would also be a feature in Ice Cream Sandwich, Romain Guy reminded everyone via Twitter today, that USB gamepads will be fully functional in ICS as well. Couple that with HDMI output and this would essentially turn your Galaxy Nexus into a full fledged portable gaming console (with the right emulators of course).

Cruising around Reddit I found this screenshot of exactly what can be found in the Android SDK in regards to game controllers. You can see it’s a sort of tutorial from Google on setting up a game controller for Android 4.0. Of course, when testing out this function don’t forget — it always helps to imagine you are a lone space cowboy in hot pursuit of the aliens who kidnapped your favorite llama on their way back to Andromeda. Pshh, duh… Who’s ready for some serious Android gaming on your smartphone?

Thanks, Ankit!

[Twitter and Reddit]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. sweet!

  2. Love the quote, lets hope the tech works as well as their humour-chips :)

  3. Awesome!

  4. Wait…the Galaxy Nexus doesn’t have HDMI output though…

    1. MHL

      1. I don’t know that I fully understand MHL. Is it a way to go from micro-usb to HDMI? Also, if you use the micro-usb port for the MHL/HDMI, then where would you plug the controller in? For some reason, this isn’t all making sense in my head yet…

        1. Never been a fan of MHL (I prefer USB and HDMI separate ports) but you can use an MHL/USB splitter I believe..

        2. “With MHL, the pin count is reduced from 19 to five, while handling all the formats that are required by HDMI.”

          And: “MHL is connection agnostic (i.e., not tied to a specific type of hardware connector). The first implementations dual-purpose the most popular mobile connection (micro USB) and the most popular HDTV connection (HDMI). Other than the connectors being used, no USB nor HDMI technology is being used. It is exclusively MHL signalling through the connectors and over the cable. Other proprietary and custom connections are also allowed.”

          And: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_High-definition_Link

          1. I can already use my Samsing Infuse4G with MHL/HDMI with a Sony PS3 Bluetooth controller for big-screen SNES action. Love it.

          2. What app do you use to connect ps3 pads to your android? Two players at once?

          3. @ZenInsight it’s called Sixaxis controller, there is also a compatibility checker in the Market, because it doesn’t work with all devices. You can’t play with two players AFAIK, but I haven’t tried with two people.


        3. You could connect your controller via bluetooth.. Bluetooth is the way to go then you can connect all those tangled wires where they need to be.. LoL

  5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but thought no HDMI out on the nexus? Am I mistaken? That was one of my only disappointments…

    1. I thought they had that an MHL port or whatever it’s called? o.O

  6. i’m more and more convinced that Android will come to laptops very very soon. The first should be Asus from what i read with a laptop based on nvidia tegra 3. I’ll be the first to buy it. Smartphones and tablets are for kids! I’m joking!….but i prefer laptops!

    1. True. I do find my phone useful for organizing the day. And calls. I have yet to jump on the tablet bandwagon. I would need it to be a notebook replacement.

  7. Dude, I already do this with my X2. Not with the 360 controller of course, but it’s not that tough.

  8. Another one up on iOS!

    1. Apple will probably enable this, too, eventually. This is why it’s vital that Google does it first, especially when they have something like Google TV set top boxes. They could really turn Google TV into a console “platform” powered by high-end ARM chips like Kal-el or the upcoming 1.5 ghz Exynos and that cost only $100-$150.

      Forget about the TV part. That will take time to get right. It needs a lot of content, it needs a very intuitive UI, it needs very easy to use input methods, and so on. Just make it a priority to become a console platform first, and after you sell millions of them, you can take your time to improve the TV stuff, too.

      Of course, if they do this they also need to get as many game developers as possible to port their high-end “console-like” games to Google TV, too (which should be just slight modifications to their Honeycomb games). But Google needs to get as many great titles as possible to get credibility for this move. Having all the PS Suite games on board, would help, too.

  9. Wow, it’ll be just like my 360, except with a 4 inch screen rather than a 60 inch one…

    1. err no, they’re implying you use tv out to play on your tv
      you know, like a console.

    2. Output the video onto your 60-inch TV, yo.

  10. or even console quality games with services like OnLive. http://goo.gl/ZSr8U

    1. Forgot about that! :O

    2. Onlive! FTW

  11. this is misleading.. the galaxy nexus can use a gamepad through USB and it can do HDMI output but it can’t do both at the same time because they use the same port

    1. A dock or a MHL/USB splitter.

    2. this will happen with the DOCK! GalaxyNexus comes with 3 golden pins for these feature……

      1. If it’s anything like the Nexus One or the MyTouch 4G (and I’m willing to bet that it is), the pins are just for power and to determine the dock mode. One pin is ground, another is +5v, and the third is 0v for desk docks and 3.3v for car docks (I think there might be a signal sent on this third pin for car docks, but only to tell it which bluetooth device to pair to and how). The rest of the communication is done over bluetooth.

  12. but does it support the existing wiimote and ps3 controller ime’s
    considering it is samsung i am highly doubtful.. :
    the gs, nexus s and sgs2 all do not support them

  13. Wow. I’m totally digging this idea. This same concept would be really cool on the Galaxy Tab. :-) or… let’s revisit that crazy tablet dock idea *wink wink*

  14. 2020 all game console will disappear. We should be able to be the in game by then. Can’t wait bitches!!!

  15. Forget about the Galaxy Nexus – Asus Transporter Prime with a wireless X-Box 360 controller and a good selection of emulators, and that’s HEAVEN.

  16. Cool, but I can only see this feature as useful for a tablet. The screen size on a phone is too small. 7-10″ screen would be better. Plane/car/train trips would go alot faster with this.

  17. Doesn’t the SGSII already have the same capabilities?

    1. Yeah, but with the Nexus you get stock android with the latest updates because its Google’s phone, and instead of touchwiz and all that, you get plain vanilla ice cream sandwich (no pun intended)

  18. Google TV/Gaming machine coming soon with android phone controllers? You should probably get on that Google.

    1. I was hoping ICS was going to bring GoogleTV interface to the phone (when output to TV). But I guess they can only do so much with each update. I think it is inevitable though. Just imagine being able to use your old phones as a GoogleTV set top boxes for videos/music/apps/games.

    2. GoogleTV already has a protocol defined for direct IP to IP communication between a GTV device and an Android phone/tablet device. That’s what the GoogleTV remote app uses (which, btw, is open source). I’ve heard talk of apps for things like Texas Hold’em, where the table is on the TV, and each person’s hand is on their phone. The upcoming v2 update to GTV should make things interesting.

  19. i dpont even know what to say… this is the coolest thing ever ever.

  20. Been doing this over Bluetooth with the Phonejoy for a while now with my Sensation. Love sitting on the train playing Zelda.

    1. Does it require root?

      1. Nope. Check out phonejoy.net

  21. Rip Xbox and ps

  22. WOW totaly buying it instead of my xbox 720 :P

    this is insane,crazy whatever!

    soon i mean very soon there is a chance we can teleport to each other via NFC? :) i mean wtf is going on? the tech is advancing so fast im becoming blind xD

  23. Already been full fled gaming. Xperia play is where it’s at if you really want to game on the go.

  24. I guess I can sell my 3DS now? I barely even play it. Glad I bought it dirt cheap from selling a lot of old games. LoL!!

  25. Really?

  26. What controller? & What games support this?


  27. lol to the people saying they are going to ditch their ps3 or xbox… you realise its a phone right…. you’ve seen the graphics on phone games? this would be awesome for snes emulation or something but don’t ditch your consoles unless you love seeing pixels

    1. You obviously are oblivious to the hardware coming out these days. You’re going to be amazed.

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