By Alexandra Burlacu | Jun 05, 2013 02:35 PM EDT
The much-anticipated Wikipad Android gaming tablet suffered months of delays and some redesigns, but is now ready to hit the market in June for $249.
Wikipad is a neat seven-incher that slides into a cool U-shaped game controller. The controller itself comes bundled with the tablet and sports a directional pad, dual analog sticks, four front buttons, bumper buttons and triggers. Basically it has everything one would expect from a standard game controller, but this one also boasts its own speakers.
The tablet, meanwhile, has specs comparable to the popular Google Nexus 7 slate. It packs an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and 1GB of RAM under the hood, sports a 7-inch display with a resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels, has a 2-megapixel front camera and 16GB of storage, expandable via micro SD.
The micro SD card slot, coupled with the micro-HDMI output, actually make two of the gadget's main strengths. By itself, the tablet side of the gadget weighs in at 0.71 pounds and measures 0.42 inches in thickness. With the controller, the device reaches 1.23 pounds in weight and 2.57 inches in thickness.
As previously mentioned, however, the Wikipad also suffered some redesigns along the way. The gaming tablet was originally supposed to sport a 10.1-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1,200 x 800 pixels. The Wikipad gaming tablet was supposed to hit retail stores at the end of October 2012 for with a $499 price tag. The larger Wikipad ultimately took a back seat last fall due to technical and supply issues. The company may still decide to launch a 10-inch model later this year, but for now the 7-inch Wikipad is set to go on sale on June 11.
To be honest, smaller tablets are becoming increasingly popular and the trend shows no signs of shifting anytime soon. A $249 slate with a 7-inch screen probably has more chances to succeed that a $500 slate with a larger, 10.1-inch screen, especially as a newcomer.
"The launch of the Wikipad 7 tablet signals a transformative turning point in the direction of the mobile gaming industry," Wikipad Chairman Matthew Joynes said in the press release, as published by Engadget. "Wikipad's tablet combines the largest range of features found in a premium Android tablet together with the unrivaled console video game experience only available with a gamepad."
"There is no other mobile device on the market that possesses Wikipad's unique functionality and versatility and all available with a full warranty and customer support at an entry level price point," adds Fraser Townley, President of Sales at Wikipad Inc.
Wikipad's website also points out that the Android ecosystem has a neat selection of games that support buttons and thumbsticks, which make the Wikipad gaming tablet sound quite promising. Aside from the Google Play Store selection, Wikipad will also come pre-loaded with NVIDIA TegraZone, PlayStation Mobile and will stream BigFish games. Support from Sony's Gaikai streaming service was previously on the table, but it's no longer mentioned. It will, however, will face competition from other devices such as the Archos GamePad, NVIDIA's Project Shield and the Moga Pro controller.
On the other hand, Wikipad has one more trick up its sleeve: users can easily detach it for non-gaming use and enjoy the device as a standalone tablet. The tablet will make its debut only in the U.S., with a UK and global launch set for this summer. For now, the Wikipad gaming tablet will hit BestBuy.com, Walmart.com and TigerDirect on June 11. Meanwhile, check out the video to see the gadget in action.
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