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Hyperkin’s SmartBoy claims to turn your iPhone into an old-school Game Boy

It uses an iPhone 6 Plus as the screen, but lets you play physical carts - is this real?

Hyperkin is the company behind the RetroN series of consoles, which can play cartridges from all manner of classic systems – like the NES, Super Nintendo, and Mega Drive – on a single machine with upscaled graphics and enhanced audio. And for its next feat, the company will turn your iPhone into a proper Game Boy.

We’re not talking about a case that just makes your phone look like a Game Boy from the back, or even a jailbroken app that emulates the old handheld classics. No, the SmartBoy is a controller shell that takes in your iPhone 6 Plus – and lets you use its screen to play the Game Boy cartridges plugged into the back.

April Fools, right? It’s not, says Hyperkin – but it almost was. See, the company devised the device as a would-be prank, but then realized there was real value in making it happen. ThinkGeek has done similar things in the past, turning a popular joke item into a real one as demand surfaced.

That might be the case again here, assuming we don’t wake up in the morning to find that Hyperkin lied about the SmartBoy’s veracity. As this point, it’s just a prototype (we believe), and things could change in a potential final product. But Hyperkin says the shell’s battery – which can charge through the phone – will provide about five hours of gameplay.

The concept art is for an iPhone 6 Plus model, but an Android version with an open side panel (to accommodate different flagship phone form factors) is also being developed, and we have to believe a standard iPhone 6 version will also be available. Then again, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus probably won’t be Apple’s current flagships by the time the SmartBoy is actually available.

And how exactly will something like this work, given Apple’s notoriously locked platform and surely Nintendo’s own objections in the matter? We have to wonder if some of it is wishful thinking for now, potentially made real with some hard work and innovation to come. Then again, Hyperkin made the RetroN systems work, so there’s reason to have at least a little faith.

[Source: Hyperkin via Gizmodo]