It started off like a quirky-looking and bizarrely-named gadget that had little chance of ever becoming more than vaporware, let alone become popular. Before we knew it, it matured and transformed into an intriguing hybrid with a more than decent spec sheet. The icing on the cake however came just hours ago, when it pranced around in some official “press pictures”, rocking a polished look and, for the first time, with official pricing and availability details.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Wikipad tablet, one of the first ever full-fledged Android gaming slates! No more quirky-looking, still bizarrely-named (though we’re sure Julian Assange doesn’t exactly have the time to deal with things like that right now), but parading some strong specs, as well as a couple of certifications that make it juicier than ever before.
We knew for a while that the Wikipad will eventually sport a 10-inch screen, unlike the 8-incher prototype from back January, but as far as design goes, the gaming tab now looks far cooler than in July. We’re unsure if the manufacturers actually did some additional refining work these past two months or if the quality of the new photos is deceiving, but the Wikipad now looks much more polished than before, sturdier, and more elegant.
The 10-incher will come standard with a detachable set of game controls, which also looks slightly better than before. The add-on will include two triggers and analog sticks, four face buttons, two bumpers, start/select buttons, and a directional pad, all of which look stylish, but also well-sized and well-spaced.
The tab’s spec sheet doesn’t seem to have suffered any major changes since July, so we still expect the Wikipad to come with a 1.4 GHz quad-core Tegra 3 CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 16 and 32 GB of internal storage space, the running of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, dual 8 MP/2 MP cameras, a 23.46 Wh battery, and built-in stereo speakers.
What has changed is the tab’s game support, which is now very exciting, to say the least. The Wikipad will offer full access to Google Play and Tegra 3-optimized games, but will also get “exclusive full-length game titles” from GameStop and will be PlayStation Certified and optimized for the Gaikai platform. Those “exclusive full-length” games from GameStop sound especially cool, although no titles have been announced at this time.
I’m pretty certain you’re expecting the Wikipad to sell for a premium price at this point, and unfortunately you’re right on the money. The 10-incher is already up for pre-order at GameStop and will start shipping on October 31 for … $499. The on-board memory is not mentioned, but we’re guessing that’ll be the price of the 16 GB Wikipad.
That’s pretty hefty, especially considering the direction that the tablet market seems to be heading in these days. Amazon and Google’s popular 7-inchers go for between $160 and $250, so I’m sure this tab/gaming console had a better chance of selling at, say, $350 or $400.
Wikipad will certainly have to deal with direct competition as well, coming from similar Android-based gaming consoles, like the Archos GamePad and the upcoming Ouya. Those are both far cheaper than this gaming tablet, but have some major technical and design downsides. They will all be in your hands soon, so game on!