Gaming Features in Android Operating System

Games are the most popular apps to download for any smartphone, but the iPhone is widely perceived as the best gaming smartphone. That's mostly because it has the biggest game library, including a number of exclusive titles from both indie and name-brand publishers.

The selection of games on the Android Market, while growing, still in no way surpasses the iPhone's. But the latest smartphones running Google's open-source Android operating system have dramatically improved potential for gaming - especially those running the newest version of Android, called Ice Cream Sandwich.

Game controllers 
The first tablet version of Android, called 3.0 "Honeycomb," introduced support for USB controllers. Meanwhile, Android enthusiasts and hobbyists have been rooting their devices to add support for controllers like the PlayStation 3's SixAxis for some time now. The Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android, however, adds official support for game controllers, plus resources for game developers to easily add gamepad support to their titles. Several Android games already have or will soon add support for game controllers ... a feature best paired with HDMI screen mirroring, on phones that support it.

The PlayStation Suite
Sony-Ericsson's Xperia Play smartphone (the "PlayStation Phone") and Sony's Tablet S now both run Sony's PlayStation Suite, which includes access to some of the PlayStation Network's features and the ability to buy select PSOne games. The Xperia Play also has a slide-out game controller, which is supported by dozens of games, and has seen a number of temporarily exclusive titles. Don't have a Sony device? Sony's chairman, Kaz Hirai, said at a recent conference that the company was "in discussions" with others "to bring them on board," and that "This is not just for Sony devices."

Under-the-hood improvements
The release of Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" late last year saw a dramatically improved Native Development Kit, or tools for game developers to create more high-performance titles, that bypass Android's Dalvik virtual machine and access system features directly. Meanwhile, the popular 3d game toolkit Unity 3d recently shipped its official Android version. Games made using Unity 3d are already widespread on iOS, and can also be found on PC, Mac, and even the Wii.

The streaming game service called OnLive began its Android experiment as a partnership with HTC, for the company's HTC Flyer tablet. While its first attempt was just a streaming game viewer, that let you watch others play, it demoed a prototype game-playing app at this year's E3. Obviously, the ability to pair an actual game controller with it will enhance the experience.

[src: Yahoo News]


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