SmartBoy turns your Android phone into a GameBoy, buttons and all

If you’ve ever held your phone and wished it had mechanical Game Boy Color buttons you’re not alone. Okay, maybe you are, but Hyperkin Lab has taken this concept one step further with its Smart Boy add-on for smart phones. The company teased the accessory during April Fool’s last year, but due to the overwhelming response the company decided to go through with it. You can now pre-order the Smart Boy Development Kit, which costs $60 and lets you play Game Boy as well as Game Boy Color cartridges on your smartphone.

The idea is simple enough — plug it in and you’re ready to do some mobile gaming with classics like Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, and Pokémon Yellow. You know, to strengthen your hype for the upcoming Pokémon Go. But to be fair, other franchises like Bionic Commando, Bomberman, and even Zelda have already made their way onto the almost 20-year-old device.

For anyone nostalgic for the ’90s this device is a dream come true as it can be hard to get your hands on an original Game Boy or Game Boy Color, which were discontinued a long time ago (Game Boy Color was discontinued in 2003). Those looking for a somewhat more playful take on the trip down nostalgia lane may be interested in a modified Burger King Toy.

Hyperkin Lab is offering a royalty percentage of retail-ready Smart Boy units sold to anyone who can improve the device’s serial app and firmware. Those who want to get in on the action can upload updates and builds of the serial app and firmware to Hyperkin Lab’s dedicated forum to testing and development of the device.

At this point there’s little information on how the actual software works, if there’s a special menu and the like, or if it simply starts up the moment you put it on. But Hyperkin Lab has provided some information with the pre-order announcement. The serial app and firmware are open source (which is why you get to upload your versions to the forum), and it has a double-sided Micro USB port.

For now the device is only compatible with Android KitKat (4.4.4) and unless modders work some special magic it’s likely going to stay that way. That is, unless you’re sitting on custom firmware of course. It’s possible the Android community will implement support for the device in custom firmware for those who have used jailbreak on their phones.

Hyperkin Lab’s Smart Boy Developer Kit can be pre-ordered via its official homepage, the expected date of shipping is December 1, 2016.

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