Xbox One Controller Mostly Works with Android

Android’s native support for Bluetooth gamepads opens up a large ecosystem for third-party game accessory manufacturers to create their own hardware products. Snakebyte recently announced a new controller that works not just for VR but also Android phones and TVs.

The new Xbox Controller
The new Xbox Controller

This extends to other kinds of gamepads, including the new Bluetooth controller for the Xbox One S. Does that mean their controller can be paired to your TV and be used for playing games? At first glance, it seems possible. The Xbox controllers have become a pretty common model that many other gamepads have been based on, such as NVIDIA’s controller.

NVIDIA has a close relation
NVIDIA has a close relation

Android Police did an analysis of how well this controller performs when paired to Android devices. It turns out to pair pretty easily, since Bluetooth is standard, but the button mappings were not perfect. Games became difficult to play since actions did not work as expected, meaning games became nearly impossible to play.

It wouldn’t even properly pair with my SHIELD TV (it never left pairing mode).
-Sad news as mentioned in the article

Also mentioned is the Xbox One controller will not pair with the Shield TV, which would have been really great. It seems like there are a handful of incompatibility issues.

A user from XDA Developers, vortox, has already come up with a custom key layout file that you can download to your device which should map the keys correctly.

From there, Redditor felipefidelix posted commands that you can execute over ADB and reported it works well.

adb devices
adb shell
mount -o rw,remount,rw /system
cp /path/to/my/file /system/usr/keylayout/
chmod 644 /system/usr/keylayout/Vendor_045e_Product_02e0.kl

This doesn’t mean this will never work. The Android OS may add this key layout in a future update, Microsoft may add better support to their controller, or NVIDIA may add custom support for the Shield TV. In the meantime, there are a number of other gamepads that do work, both over Bluetooth or USB. There is an issue on the Android issue tracker to add support. If you want official support, you should visit that link and give it a star.

The controller is available on Amazon for $50 right now without having to purchase the Xbox itself.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub ( Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop. Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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