Wikipad re-emerges smaller and more affordable
On the cusp of hitting the market last fall, the Wikipad Android gaming tablet hit a snag. Citing “a last-minute opportunity to enhance the Wikipad bundle as well as a minor refinement needed to ensure our first customers are completely satisfied,” Wikipad Inc. delayed the release a month before the tablet’s scheduled launch date.
Just over four months later, the company is once again preparing to release the Wikipad. And since we saw it last, the tablet has undergone a fairly major design tweak, going from a 10-inch screen to a 7-inch version. The smaller screen also brings a new price tag, dropping the launch Wikipad to $249 from a loftier $499.
The refinement came from a “technical issue with the controller,” said Wikipad managing director Fraser Townley, which the company was afraid might lead to returned units. The delay for the controller retooling then pushed the timing of the Wikipad’s launch up against the end-of-life cycle for the 10-inch panel. That prompted the switch to the 7-inch screen. The company says that a 10-inch model is still forthcoming, although the timing and price are both to be determined.
Despite the move to the 7-inch screen, the Wikipad remains largely the same in terms of its core functionality. It’s still an Android OS 4.1-based gaming tablet with an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. The screen resolution is the same as the 10.1-inch version, 1,280×800-pixels. It also still includes the game controller sleeve accessory, and you can still take the Wikipad out of the sleeve and use it as a traditional touch-screen tablet.
Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET
You can expect to see the Wikipad hit retailers this spring, says the company, which means it will come to market at roughly the same time as two other new Android gaming devices, the $99 Ouya console, and the semi-portable Gamestick device. The Wikipad is the only one of these devices with its own display, although all will rely on content from Android’s Google Play store, as well as partnerships with various game publishers and streaming services.
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