Hacking the game console: ZRRO lets you play hundreds of thousands of games for free
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Photo Credit: ZRRO/ Smartphone to big screen gaming console

Smart phones are great, but sometimes you want a bigger, more immersive gaming experience. ZRRO is raising funds on Kickstarter to do just that

At first, it seems like a pain point that only a Seth Rogen character can relate to.

If you want to play mobile games on your television screen, your options are limited. If you’ve ever hooked up your smartphone to a TV screen, you’ve probably been pleasantly surprised at the high graphics resolution and great sound quality hiding inside your unassuming little smart phone. The problem is control. How do you play games that were developed for a smartphone or tablet touch screen? Israel’s ZRRO is an Israeli startup that believes it has (finally!) bridged the gaping chasm between your giant TV screen and the million-plus apps developed for Android.

Move over Google

At present, if you want to play an Android game on your TV, your options are Google’s Nexus Player or the popular OUYA console. But both these systems use gamepads with buttons and thumb sticks, which fail to create an optimal user experience. Not to mention that they only work with a few hundred games, and the game you’re currently addicted to probably isn’t one of them.

On Tuesday, Israel-based ZRRO (pronounced “zero”) launched a Kickstarter campaign for $200,000. If it successfully raises the money, ZRRO’s first consoles will be ready for shipping by August. ZRRO offers a touchpad controller that feels very much like a mobile screen but allows you to play on a bigger, better, grander playing field.

ZRROs controller uses patented technology called zTouch to detect a user’s fingers hovering up to 3 cm above the pad. Two circular icons on the screen show you where your fingers are and when you move them closer the icons get smaller. This hovering technology is pretty trailblazing. The Samsung Galaxy S4 and s5 feature hover touch but it is limited to a single finger and suffers from a significant delay.

ZRRO’s hover technology creates the effect of a mouse on a computer screen. Just as the cursor shows you where the mouse is at all times, allowing you to keep your eyes on the computer screen, ZRRO’s control feels natural and intuitive.

In addition to the control panel, the ZRRO console consists of a 2.0 GHz ZRRO Box with 2 gigabytes of RAM, 16 gigabytes of internal storage (expandable through an SD card of up to 32 gigabytes).

In less than 24 hours, ZRRO has raised more than a quarter of its $200,000 goal. If you want to own one, it costs $199.

 We tried it out

Geektime took the ZRRO console for a spin, and after a few minutes of getting used to the experience, we can confidently say that it compared favorably with a dedicated game console like Xbox. You can even move the controller from side to side to simulate driving. But instead of paying several hundred dollars for a console as well as shelling out extra cash for individual games, you can enjoy the endless abundance of free games for mobile.

Not (just) for gamers

ZRROs Kickstarter video shows a Seth Rogen lookalike snarfing down Ramen noodles while marathon-playing Android games into the wee hours of the morning. He looks like he hasn’t showered in weeks. But realistically, a hardcore gamer may not be the obvious audience for this product. He (or she!) would probably spare no expense on the most sophisticated games and consoles on the market.

ZRRO, on the other hand, seems to pack more appeal for the casual gamer, who for a one-time outlay of $199, can have an immersive large-screen gaming experience.

“It’s something anyone can afford, and gives you access to hundreds of thousands of games for free,” Ronen Rubin, VP of Operations told Geektime.

In other words, ZRRO is for everyone!

For instance, parents could buy the ZRRO for their kids, thereby allowing the parents to keep tabs on how and what games their kids are playing. Non-gamers can also use the console. Any app on your smartphone will suddenly acquire larger-than-life dimensions and hover capabilities. You can browse your favorite fashion and recipe apps, stream movies or follow bus lines with Moovit—all from the comfort of the big screen. Farsighted people won’t have to squint to use their favorite mobile app anymore.

After all, small may be beautiful, but big is a very close runner up.

Yaneev Avital, Writer at Geektime, contributed to this piece

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Simona Weinglass

About Simona Weinglass


I’m an old-school journalist who recently decided to pivot into high-tech. I work in high-tech marketing as well as print and broadcast media covering politics, business culture and everything in between.

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