XOPAD is the first open source USB game controller for android smartphones in the market. The gamepad allows charging while gaming, audio support, full analog joystick commands and can resize to fit phones up to the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, the largest Android smartphone available. It essentially turns your phone into a portable gaming console with extended hours of game play.
XOPAD takes advantage of the newest Android Accessory Protocol to interface with devices. Its firmware is upgradable and open source, which will allow developers to modify and improve its capabilities, including on-the-go support through purpose-designed electronics. This talks about the commitment of XOPAD creators with the open source community.
If you're a developer or technology-geek, make sure to check the full test video of XOPAD, featuring its characteristics with more detail:
How did we come up with the idea?
Phones are the next generation gaming platform, however they have limitations. The main one is that the battery drains quickly when you play, the touch controls are inconvenient and not ergonomic at all. Other gaming solutions for phones on the market require connection over Bluetooth, further reducing battery life from both your phone and the controller. Plus, most of them require rooting and let's face it, not everyone is capable of rooting their phones. We wanted to create a product to tackle these issues: charging had to occur through USB, so why not make the data transfer through USB as well? That is exactly what we did.
How XOPAD works (getting a bit more technical)
In order to communicate to any USB device, your phone can act as a device or as a host. As a device, it means that a host enumerates the phone as a USB device, and your phone responds to that host (just like when you connect your phone to your computer, the computer tells the phone what to do). In host mode, the phone has to take advantage of the On-The-Go protocol, which means it can act as a host and enumerate another device, allowing you to connect input devices such as USB keyboards,mice and even joysticks to it.
Now this is the beauty of XOPAD: it supports both modes: it can act as a host or as a device. Why do we want both? Because it is open source, and the final user should have the freedom to choose the mode. There are some advantages and disadvantages of one over the other (explained below), but the beauty is that you can choose which one to use. No strings attached.
Will my phone work with it?
XOPAD uses HID protocols (Human Interface Device), meaning functions supported natively in Android versions 3.1+ for OTG and 4.1+ for AOA. There are some ROMS that support OTG in Gingerbread, although it's not the general case. In a nushell, your phone has to support either On-The-Go or AOA modes in order to work, either from the stock ROM or a custom ROM you may have flashed into it. Check the Risks and Challenges section for more information.
What games are supported?
As we said before, XOPAD uses HID protocols. As of now, there are a bunch of games that already support HID protocols, such as:
Grand Theft Auto 3
Gem Miner Dig Deeper
Jet Set Radio
Symphony of Eternity
These are just examples, there are more games that support it and this list is expanding quickly with new games added everyday, since it is fairly easy for game developers to implement the joystick support through USB.
But, how about that game you've been playing for a while and does not support HID protocols? Well, as of now we are not planning on developing an app to emulate screen touches from XOPAD commands, but it is possible that someone might do it since it is open source. We will release all the code as soon as we are ready to ship the first units (to avoid copies).
Who are we?
The XOPAD team has years of experience including mechanical, aerospace and electrical engineering, manufacturing, overseas product sourcing and organizational management. In 2011, two of the team members launched a successful online company; Jaycon Systems LLC. Designing circuit boards to help the open source developers community. This opened the doors for multiple custom projects for clients, ranging from products like wireless mp3 players to data acquisition systems mounted on rockets (yes, the ones that go into space).
These individual efforts gave us the knowledge to create products like this, which eventually lead the team to focus efforts to launch our own project, the XOPAD.
The idea evolved from a simple clay model concept to a CAD model, to 3D printed models, to a fully functional prototype.The transition took 4 months of full time work from concept to creation leading to an outstanding ergonomic design, including full size functionality in a portable controller with upgradable firmware.
The "Making of" Video:
Meet the Team:
“Sunny”: Suraj is currently a Systems Engineer at DTx in Melbourne, FL. Studied Electrical Engineering in Florida Institute of Technology. Suraj is responsible for rapid prototyping, project management, production and manufacturing.
“Jay”: Jiten received his MastersDegree in Aerospace Engineering from Florida Institute of Technology in 2012 specializing in Propulsion, Robotics and Control Systems. Jiten is responsible for board design and manufacturing.
Gabriel: With a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering he has now decided to go further and pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. A hands-on, practical, can-do attitude engineer, responsible for the mechanical design, optimization and systems integration. His entrepreneur spirit already made him co-founder in a heavy weightlifting machinery company at the early age of 22.
Derek: Derek graduated from his bachelors of science in Business from Colorado State University. Derek started his first business at age 14. He is responsible for product selection and procurement, production and manufacturing, social media, marketing, finances, and website development.
Why should you back us?
We are creators, we have the proper background, the technical expertise, the right business capabilities, and most importantly, a fully working prototype of a nonexisting product ready to hit the market. The missing part is the funds to get it out there.
We love what we are doing and we expect this to grow in the future. We finally got the right team together and we expect XOPAD to be the first photo in a wall full of picture frames 10 years from now in the reception of our company. We think big, and we work harder and harder to achieve it. We are not only up to the challenge, we're eager to go through it.
How are the funds going to be used?
After designing, building and testing the gamepad it's time to get the product to market. And there's a ton of things to keep in mind:
Circuit board setup and assembly
Steel molds for plastic injection molding (this is a big chunk of it)
Operational costs of the company
Since we took every aspect into account, we quickly realized we needed a lot of money to get it out there. The goal amount was carefully chosen to be the minimum required to get the products made and shipped. If the goal is met, be certain that you will get your XOPAD.
How do I find out more on XOPAD?
We will keep this Kickstarter, our facebook, wordpress, twitter and youtube pages updated, so stay tuned!
We recorded a project timeline, obtained quotes from vendors, and negotiated prices for all the components. We have completely sourced our production both locally and overseas to find out that our only option for economical feasibility was to produce it in China. The companies we've sourced are experienced in the production of game controllers. We will make sure the final product is well above your expectations in terms of materials and build quality, and will not compromise quality for rush.
We are planning on shipping the first XOPADs by the end of May/beginning of June. We have done all the work to streamline this project and get it into the hands of gamers and enthusiasts. Even with all the planning and forecasting unknown issues may arise. The deadlines are tight and we will do our best to stick to them, but we cannot guarantee it 100%.
Since Android is open source, many different ROMs (operating systems) have been released. Not all of them have the same protocol compatibility, especially audio through USB since it is the last to be adopted (Jelly Bean, Android 4.1+). AOA 2.0 claims audio support, but after testing many devices, we noticed each one had a different behavior, which has delayed the audio development. The hardware is completely capable of supporting audio. However, the Android AOA 2.0 protocol has not been implemented on all of the devices.
XOPAD charges your phones battery in AOA mode. In OTG mode charging depends on the devices hardware/firmware. We have taken this into account,by including a software programmable, variable sense pin resistor. This allows the end user to tinker with their device, DIY STYLE. We have considered an app to allow developers and non developers to customize the XOPAD. Based upon support and funds we may implement a stretch goal to allow easier customization.
OTG Mode: XOPAD requires a minimum of Android 4.0+ (Ice Cream Sandwich) or any USB HID compatible ROM.
- Game controller supported as USB HID device
- Audio supported under various phones automatically - others require root
- Charging = Tinkering
AOA 2.0 Mode: XOPAD requires a minimum of Android 4.1+ (Jelly Bean)
- Game controller supported as USB HID host
- Audio supported in the future
- Charging supported
XOPAD is a developer friendly gamepad and will always be a work in progress.
You're an Angel, let's talk.
You will be among the first to receive your choice of XOPAD color variation (ANY COLOR VARIATION) with YOUR NAME and BACKER NUMBER ENGRAVED INTO IT. Join us for a dinner before our launch party with our developers, engineers and friends.