Mobile gaming specialists from Exient, one of the UK's fastest growing handheld and mobile games developers, claim that Apple's iPhone points the way forward for mobile and handheld games development.

"The iPhone has the power to run decently complex games and a much nicer control surface than what we've had to use previously," Exient's MD, Dave Hawkins told TechRadar in a recent interview, adding, "I think iPhone is going to merge the handheld and mobile space in a way we've never seen before."

DS needs powering up

In discussing the highs and lows of current handheld consoles, Exient's Technical Director, Charles Chapman was full of praise for Nintendo's DS, noting that it "DS owners crave new experiences and new ways to play existing games, across both the gamer and casual demographics."

However, Nintendo's baby is not without its faults. Ironically, a major one of these is that games can be produced at much lower budgets so, "the market is flooded with poorer quality offerings that dilute the overall quality of the DS catalogue...It's also a bit of a shame that the hardware isn't a bit more powerful – something closer to the Gamecube, rather than N64, would be nice!"

Goodbye UMD

As for Sony's PSP, Dave Hawkins is clearly still a big fan, telling us that it is "a marvellous bit of technology," although adding the major caveat that its "lows are quite significant, though. UMD is a failed storage medium with bottlenecks and power demands that we could really do without.

"The fact it offers a current-gen console experience also has a downside, as the PSP offers nothing more – it's like having a mobile PS2, but with worse controls, meaning there's nothing you can experience on the platform that you can't get with a home console."

Next gen DS and PSP

Finally, when discussing the next iterations of handheld gaming devices, Chapman opined:"The DS needs more raw power, improved graphics and some kind of flash storage embedded in the unit. The PSP could do with a unique control method or maybe even twin analogue sticks, as we're used to on the home Sony machines. It also would be massively improved by having a decent amount of embedded flash storage. Dumping the UMD drive would be a good idea too."

While full of praise for the gaming potential of Apple's iPhone, he did note that it "could do with a more conventional control method - single touchscreens mean your hand will inevitably get in the way of the display, which is annoying and compromises what you can show in order to have decent functionality."

Dave Hawkins adds that one thing he "would love to see is an alternate display method – fold-out screens, projection or even goggles."

Check the full interview right here and stay tuned for more hardware news and opinions (plus rampant, excitable future tech speculation) from games developers right here on TechRadar.