Android users often get the short end of things when it comes to gaming: The Pokémon Go beta launched first on iOS, as will Nintendo’s first Super Mario mobile game. But the Pokémon Go Plus peripheral arrived at retail today, ready to connect to both Apple and Android phones ... except for the fact that many of the latter group, myself included, can’t get the thing to work for more than five minutes.
Several threads on the Pokémon Go subreddit have accounts of unlucky Android owners who can’t get the Plus accessory to stay connected. Pokémon Go Plus uses Bluetooth to access the Pokémon Go app, making it possible to catch Pokémon and visit PokéStops without actually looking at the game. Yet connecting it to certain Android phones — like mine, a weeks-old Galaxy S7 — proves finicky.
"Anyone on Android having trouble connecting the [Pokémon Go Plus]?" asks one popular thread. Twenty-one comments follow of users with different phones, different Android operating systems and different Bluetooth connections all having the same problem. The accessory will connect to the game without a hitch, but minutes, even seconds later, it will blink red and vibrate. That’s the death knell for the Plus, and it means that it will no longer play the game without you, as intended.
In my nearly two-hour episode of trying, and failing, to play Pokémon Go with just the Plus, I found it far easier to just play the game the normal way. If it was connected at all, it would stop scouring for Pokémon as soon as I minimized the game. There was no point to using it, as the only way it would reliably work was if the game was open and my phone’s screen on.
There are multitudes of threads with similar complaints and potential fixes, although there’s no surefire way to solve the problem yet. Considering how difficult it is to purchase the Pokémon Go Plus right now, it stinks for Android owners who made a concerted effort to find the device, just to not be able to use it.
An update is rolling out now to both iOS (which Polygon staff have paired the Plus with to no complaints) and Android devices, which perhaps will fix the connection errors. I can personally recommend that Android users heed caution for now, while also recognizing that: Hey. It’s day one. Remember how smooth Pokémon Go’s launch week went?