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Belkin branch out

New line of gaming accessories on the up

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

PC peripheral specialist Belkin is to branch out into gaming. This is a bit of a departure - they're famed for things like computer cables, surge protectors and uninterruptible power supplies. The company has six new devices planned; five for PC and one for PlayStation 2. The first five PC devices take advantage of a central tool, the Nostromo Array Programming Software (NAPS) interface, used in Windows to control programmability features amongst other things. The lineup includes two PC gamepads, the N40 and N45. N45 features 13 programmable action buttons, USB connectivity, Enter and Escape buttons for basic Windows functionality, capped off with dual analog inputs ala the PS2 Dual Shock controller and 70 different functions available for programming in NAPS. As an added bonus, it features a mouse-mode toggle for giving the analog sticks control of the Windows pointer. The N40 is the same as the N45, but with only 10 programmable action buttons, no mouse-mode and a smooth directional pad rather than dual analogs. Next up in Belkin's lineup is the N50 speedpad, which sounds similar to The Claw, which we reviewed several months ago. The speedpad aims to take up the keyboard side of the gamer's controls, eliminating the useless buttons we tend to hit accidentally (think Windows key) and instead focusing on directional control and the like. The N50 can be used in conjunction with the N30 GameMouse (three programmable buttons, scroll wheel and USB connectivity) as a double-handled control system, just as The Claw could be used with a basic mouse. The GameMouse is equipped with an iTouch-like technology known as TouchSence courtesy of a company called Immersion. It enables you to feel objects on-screen to interact with them. Finally, the N60 Pilot Stick features all manner of flight sim features, including precision twist rudder, a realistic rotary throttle, an 8-way point-of-view hatswitch, 14 programmable buttons with secondary hatswitch, USB connectivity and up to 57 different programmable functions courtesy of NAPS. Belkin also have their sights set on PlayStation 2, aiming to provide a new GamePad, the P45. [Is this some sort of amusing going away present for Belkin employees? Imagine developing the P45 - Ed] Similar to the N45, except lacking Windows functionality, the P45 features 14 analog action buttons, rumble functionality, a macro button and a mode button with analog, digital and steering modes. The lack of NAPS on the PlayStation 2 means most of the work will probably revolve around the macro button and careful manual juggling. Building your line around a central software suite is important, and Belkin presumably picked this up from powerhouses Microsoft, Thrustmaster and the like, but build quality and reliability are equally important, and we can't gauge that from a press release. Good luck to 'em. Related Feature - The Claw Review

Source - press release

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