It always amazed me how many millions are spent on R&D for controls by the big 3 console manufacturers (and heck, even cell phone companies). After all, how many more improvements can you make to simple buttons and dpads? Analog sticks/nubs are still a whole different animal, though.
But then we see a device like this where it seems like no money at all was spent on researching the ergonomics behind the controls, and it really makes you think about how necessary all that R&D really was for brand name manufacturers.
The Chinese handheld market has been a very reactive one. Consumers start a trend, China reacts and gives them what they want ("but be careful what you wish for... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!" -China).
Consumers: We demand capacitive touch screens!
China: Great, you'll have it in the next handheld we release.
Wussy-stuttering-sidekick: B-b-but boss, we don't have capcitive touch screens...
China: Sure we do, look right over there.
Wussy-stuttering-sidekick: B-b-but those are three point resisti-
China: But nothing!
Consumers: We demand analog sticks!
China: No prob. Our next model has two.
Wussy-stuttering-sidekick: B-b-but boss, that's just a Weeble Wobble taped to a second d-pad...
China: You know, there's a community for you nay sayers who don't want to rip off Americans.
China: Yeah! I call it a Gulag.
Let's just hope the next trend Chinese designers latch onto is "We demand better quality controls." Seriously, how could they mess up so badly? They're going backwards in quality?! What next, a car that has square wheels?! I'd hate to be dismissive of a whole set of manufacturers, but I'm through waiting for the next 20 junky Android handhelds with each one trading off different features and flaws. I really thought there could be some competition between Western and Chinese developers to create the next killer handheld but it just doesn't seem like China is interested in making anything that isn't a slight improvement over the latest Android junk in a Vita shell. The next handhelds I'm keeping an eye on have Zero and Wikipad written on them, not x360/R4ds/iHop/Vitachu/Panda-ora.
Hell, this gives me hope that even the Ouya might be worth following. That sound you just heard was hell, it just froze over, watch the news.