Flippypad: An Xperia Play-like concept for Project Ara

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from Kansas City, MO
Published: April 22, 2014


Games have always been a smaller (but still important) aspect of phones. Even back in the days when flip phones were the hot trend, most came with variations of popular games like Pac-Man, Tetris, and I believe one of my flip phones even had an Assassin’s Creed game (that was difficult to control, but still kind of cool that they made a version for phones nonetheless). When you look at phones today, many hot game titles on mobile are phenomenons of their own: Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, Candy Crush Saga, Asphalt, Cut The Rope, and plenty more. But gaming on smartphones is still pretty limited on most devices due to the fact that you have one screen and no controller - well, most of the time.


You might recall that there was one attempt to take gaming one step father in smartphones, and that was through the Sony Xperia Play device. It was an older Android device that had a standard design for its time - a screen on top, and what looked to be a slide-out keyboard underneath. However, once you slid that “keyboard” out, you’d find it wasn’t a keyboard at all. Instead, it was a flattened, modified PlayStation controller. The concept was actually very attractive. Unfortunately, technology at the time just wasn’t advanced enough to make the phone/game console hybrid an attractive purchase. You could play games on the phone, but your battery life wouldn’t last very long at all. The Xperia Play was released back in 2011.


It’s 2014, and nothing quite like the Play has been recreated yet. However, with Project Ara gaining traction and with an alleged launch next year, people are starting to get creative with the modular design of the Project Ara smartphone. In this case, a gentleman named Samuel Herb developed this concept, which calls “Flippypad”. Flippypad is nothing more than a hinged controller that would fit into one of the module slots on a Project Ara smartphone.


It’s such a simple concept, but color me impressed. This might just be the answer that solves gaming on smartphones while using a controller.


Flippypad would turn your Project Ara smartphone into a clamshell gaming device. If you’ve ever seen a Nintendo DS, you’ll notice that the combination of the two looks quite similar to one. The reason that Flippypad looks like such an attractive solution to gaming using a controller on smartphones, at least to me, is for three reasons: the attachment keeps the phone propped up, it’s compact, and the attachment isn’t permanent.


There are plenty of controllers out there that are made to work with smartphones, but most of them are pretty large. Many of them don’t give you a way to prop the phone or tablet up, so you’ll need to come up with your own creative solution for those. But a Flippypad takes care of both of those things. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket, and it’s able to prop your phone up for you.


For the icing on the cake, you have the fact that the attachment is in no way permanent. The most attractive part of Project Ara is that, as a modular phone, you’re not obligated to keep the same components over time. However, instead of replacing your entire phone, all you have to do is replace the module you’re unhappy with. In this case, you could replace one of the less important modules in your phone with the Flippypad module, and put the other module back when you’re done.


I was already pretty jazzed about Project Ara as it was, but as somebody who likes to get lost in games from time to time, this Flippypad concept is certainly another benefit to consider with the Project Ara if it were to come to fruition.


Images and concept via Samuel Herb / Aether Technician