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January 29, 2013

GameStick's Final Form Emerges; Prepare for a Whole New Portable

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

The portable gaming market has proven to be a fairly wild market of late. Between the more standard releases from Sony and the steadily growing market represented by smartphones and tablets, which can offer portable gaming every bit as easily as a full Sony device can, the market certainly doesn't want competitors. But like any market, there's always that little extra room for a company that can do the job better, and that's exactly what GameStick is out to do.

With a successful Kickstarter run hours from completion, the GameStick's final form has recently been unveiled, complete with a new docking station, showing off the fullest potential of the new Android (News - Alert)-powered portable game system. While the HDMI dongle associated with the GameStick has kept its original design, the new controller has undergone a bit of a makeover, smoothing out some curves. Some more functional changes have also come into play at last report, with the HDMI stick now located in the back of the controller rather than on top. A new microSD card slot--a request from many Kickstarter backers--also comes into play directly on the stick itself.

The docking station, meanwhile, can recharge the GameStick wirelessly thanks to a series of electromagnetic coils, and offers support for a wide variety of peripherals like keyboards, microphones, and more. The docking station also offers a memory card slot that works with up to 64 gigabyte memory cards, giving the whole affair--GameStick and docking station--an unusual, but quite robust 104 gigabytes of memory overall.

The Kickstarter project still has some time left--less than three days at last report--but given that it's already raised over five times its total target, it's a safe bet that these will be making their way to stores in the not too distant future. But for those who want in on this new gaming platform early, there's still time to get in on the contributor's list and get in for the surprisingly low price of $79.

As for games, there will be plenty of titles available in the not too distant future, as some reports even have names like Disney (News - Alert) on board to develop titles for the device. The total count says there are about 200 titles ready to go, and the word is that developing for GameStick is going to be surprisingly simple.

It's not hard to look at the whole concept and think that this is a smart idea. It's reducing the cost of gaming without dropping the power of gaming; the gaming system is contained in a very small space, and yet, there's enough power in the thing--it's packing a full gigabyte of RAM (News - Alert)--to handle many of the current games. It's going to be interesting to see just how many games come out and what they look and play like, but for the most part it looks like GameStick players won't be let down in terms of quality.

It remains to be seen, of course, if GameStick can compete against an increasing number of titles in the pipeline. New versions of the Xbox and PlayStation should be making an appearance before too much longer has passed, making the market even more competitive. But the GameStick may well have a sufficiently sound value proposition behind it to make it worth getting hands on, if not necessarily as a replacement for traditional console or PC gaming, as at least a supplement.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, happening now in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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