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Sony's Xperia Play gets competition from the Gametel

A start-up company is looking to challenge Sony's Xperia Play handset - also known as the PlayStation Phone - with an add-on to bring DualShock-like controls to any Android or iOS smartphone.

Dubbed Gametel, the pad latches on to the Android handset in landscape mode - much like the Xperia Play's slide-out control pad - and adds an eight-way D-pad, four control buttons, and start and select buttons to the phone.

While it doesn't offer the clever touch-sensitive control surfaces offered by the Xperia Play - which are designed to emulate the dual analogue sticks of Sony's DualShock controller design - it does make gaming a lot more comfortable than poking at a touch-sensitive screen with your fingers, obscuring the very thing you're trying to control.

Measuring 120mm x 67mm x 24mm and weighing 80g, the gadget features an integrated 250mAh lithium-polymer battery - a requirement, as the device connects via Bluetooth to the Android handset - with a claimed running time of nine hours per charge.

According to the company's official specifications, the Gametel operates on any Android handset with version 2.1 or above and on any iOS handset - including both the iPhone and the iPod Touch - via iCade support.

It's a clever device, but one which is not yet available in stores. The company is also reticent to suggest a retail price, but if it can get the cost down low enough it will likely win support from those lusting after an Xperia Play but stuck on a budget handset.

More information is available on the Gametel website. monitors all leading technology stories and rounds them up to help you save time hunting them down.