Bluewhale Technologies believes it has a better option for gaming on mobile devices with its Fusion controller, which is being developed to be an ergonomic, lightweight solution for gaming with more precision and comfort on a tablet or phone.
The Fusion will come in two variants: one specifically for Apple phones and tablets running iOS 7.0 or later, and one that works with Samsung tablets and phones running Android 4.3. Bluewhale believes the way to separate its product from generic Android controllers using basic Bluetooth connectivity is to focus on making a more reliable controller designed with the protocols from the phone manufacturer.
Bluewhale has used the chipset and button standards set by both Apple and Samsung to develop each version of Fusion to be fully compatible with the games published in the App Store, and all "S Console" games. The company said this approach made it economically impossible to create a single Fusion ready for both iOS and Android. Both versions of Fusion use different internals to meet each standard, and combining them would require the controller to be priced too high.
Fusion borrows much of its design from the Playstation controller, with a similar button layout and shape. You'll find a set of analog sticks, four buttons on the right hand side and a D-pad on the left. On the back side there are two shoulder buttons and two analog triggers. The central section is bare of buttons. That area is actually a clever attachment for your phone or iPod. It flips up from the bottom and provides an arm to hold the phone in place. The company claimed the bracket will hold tight even during rapid motion.
Bluewhale claimed to have spent a significant amount of time refining the device for maximum ergonomic comfort. Currently, the controller does not have any ergonomic certification to back this claim, but the company said it will be certified before reaching retail.
Perhaps the most intriguing difference between Fusion and other mobile device controllers is the battery. Bluewhale has included a 5200 mAh battery in the design. With the controller consuming a mere 2.4 mAh per hour, it will theoretically deliver 2,160 hours of gameplay with one charge, though that's not a realistic expectation. However, the company does intend for the controller to double as a battery bank that can charge your phone while you play, allowing for extended game time.
The two versions of Fusion are nearly identical, with only simple feature differences to accommodate each platform. The Apple version supports iOS devices with version 7.0+ installed and makes use of MFI for pairing. It is compatible with all games found in the Play Store that have controller support. The Samsung version uses NFC to pair to Bluetooth, works with all Samsung devices running Android 4.3+, and it should work with all S Console games.
Bluewhale is currently operating a Kickstarter campaign to speed up development of the controller. Backers are expected to see their products by August. We asked if there are any backup plans in the event that the crowdfunding campaign falls through. We were told that there are already multiple distributors eager to start selling Fusion controllers in both the U.S. and Europe. The money from Kickstarter will help speed up development, but Bluewhale is not relying on it to complete the product.
If the company's projections pan out, the Fusion controller should be in retail by September of this year. It will carry a price tag of $58 for the Samsung version and $64 for the Apple version.
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Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.