Android gaming is set to take off in a huge way this spring with the Android-powered Ouya and GameStick consoles. The GameStick is particularly interesting because it sheds the traditional "console box" for a 12mm thick controller. The entire "console" is housed in an MHL-certified HDMI stick that plugs directly into any supported HDTV, and conveniently fits into the GameStick controller when not in use.
Based on 8,569 emails (they actually counted) with invaluable feedback from the Kickstarter backers, the GameStick guys went back to the drawing board and tweaked the controller. The final version reportedly "feels better in the hand" with rounder edges, extended palm grips, and extra comfy rubber. The strange P/L/A/Y button layout has been changed to a more familiar A/B/X/Y, the D-pad is rubberized and the dual analog sticks now support a 45-degree tilt angle. Lastly, the MHL-certified HDMI stick's housing slot has also been repositioned on the backside as opposed to the frontside on the original design, and sports a microSD card slot that takes up to 32 GB.
As if all of those improved changes weren't enough, the GameStick now also charges wirelessly on an optional docking station that has an ethernet port, three USB ports (for keyboard, mouse and cameras), three HDMi ports and full-sized SD card slot. The dock can also handle up to 104GB of combined storage from SD cards, flash drives and external hard drives.
While the GameStick team admits wirelessly charging the controller on the dock won't be as fast as through USB, they think the convenience is worth it. No word if the controller is using the Qi wireless charing standard, though.
"We’ve had to do a lot of work on the controller housing to accommodate this, but basically we have thinned out an area in the lower deck of the controller to 1mm and put an electromagnetic coil in both the dock and the controller. Simply, put the controller on the dock and it will begin charging. It’s not quite as fast as USB charging, which is also supported, but it's super easy and convenient to use. We like it a lot and we think you will, too."
To say the GameStick is a Kickstarter success story is an understatement. If you're interested in GameStick, there's still time: the GameStick Kickstarter project has over $522,000 from over 4,720 backers at the time of publishing, and there's still over 68 hours to go.