Video game peripheral maker Hyperkin is bringing retro flair to Android smartphones with its Smart Boy Developer Kit, which could let owners of Game Boy cartridges play them on their phones.
There's an emphasis on could, though, because as its name suggests, the kit, which starts shipping in December, is intended for developers. It includes the beginnings of an app and open-source firmware that "will enable developers of all kinds to advance Hyperkin's current build toward a retail-ready model," according to the product's Web page.
In other words, Hyperkin built the hardware and it wants you, the developer, to build the software. There's a lot of promise in the $60 device, though. It's compatible with Game Boy and Game Boy Color game cartridges, and includes a full set of Game Boy buttons.
You slip an Android phone into the case—any 5- or 6-inch wide phone will do, Hyperkin says. The cartridge goes in its own slot behind the phone. There's a double-sided micro USB port for charging, though presumably the accessory can also run off the phone's battery.
Actually playing a game, though, will require a bit of tinkering. Hyperkin promises a percentage of the profits from all retail-ready Smartboy units sold to anyone who can improve the Smartboy's serial app and firmware. Builds can be uploaded to a dedicated Hyperkin Lab forum.
The missing piece in Hyperkin's otherwise-ingenious and novel plan is iPhone compatibility. The company originally promised that its Game Boy case would only be compatible with the iPhone 6s Plus. The company did not immediately respond to a request for its plans to release an Apple-compatible kit.