Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Wikipad CEO Defends Tablet's Steep Price

By - Source: Engadget | B 25 comments

Wikipad's CEO says the tablet's 10.1-inch size justifies its price.

Engadget recently conducted an interview with Wikipad CEO James Bower to talk about the upcoming gaming-focused Android tablet. Measuring at 10.1-inches, the $499 pricetag seems comparable with Apple's iPad 3 and other similarly-sized Android tablets on the market. But for a gamer, the price is rather steep.

Adding to that, some may argue that the Android platform really doesn't sport a robust library of games on the same level as Sony's PlayStation Vita. Android apps are designed to be short, sweet and cheap unless they're from Gameloft or EA. Vita's Uncharted: Golden Abyss is around 3.2 GB and Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus weighs 2.3 GB – they're big, they're expensive and take a while to conquer.

So when you compare the actual pricetag of the PlayStation Vita and the Wikipad, the latter's price tag seems a little obnoxious. But Bower says it's all about the size: Wikipad is double the price because it's double the size of Vita's 5-inch screen.

"If you buy a tablet that's seven inches, you can get a $199 tablet -- it's called a Google Nexus or a Kindle Fire," he said. "If you're gonna get a full 10-inch tablet, a tablet to this quality, you're gonna spend $499 to $749. If we were talking about a 7-inch device or a 5-inch device, and we were at this price point, then it'd be a different story."

He goes on to say that it makes sense to purchase the Wikipad if you're going to purchase the $249 PlayStation Vita and the $499 iPad 3 anyway – it's the best of both worlds for one set price. Bower said he even wants the device to cross over between students, gamers and professionals, but the company's partnership with GameStop seems to indicate a primary focus on an extremely fickle gaming audience.

Unfortunately, the Wikipad may be a tough sell. A tight economy pushed Nintendo to lower the price of its 3DS handheld unit just months after it hit the North American market. The PlayStation Vita is seemingly having similar issues although Sony refuses to budge from its $249 base price point. Even more, the 7-inch tablet market has exploded thanks to the Kindle Fire, indicating a strong preference for low cost, high quality, mobile devices.

Bower doesn't seem worried. Even more, his company doesn't have to sell tens of thousands to do extremely well. "With what we have in pre-sales and pre-orders, we're already gonna be profitable this year," he said. "It's all about going into next year, and the product development and the marketing, and building the brand from there," Bower said. "It's up to us to craft the message correctly and get everybody excited about this device."

The Android-powered Wikipad is expected to launch on October 31, just days after Microsoft goes live with Windows 8 and its Surface tablets. Supporting gaming services will include Sony's PlayStation Mobile and Gaikai as well as optimized games available through Google Play.

To read the full interview with Engadget, head here.

Display 25 Comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 8 Hide
    Vorador2 , October 2, 2012 10:29 AM
    The problem is not the device itself. It's the apps, very few are going to be optimized for a controller on a tablet.

    And well, the screen is nothing to write home about. For that price, one would expect to get a better screen, specially when at that price point it goes against the iPad 3.
  • 8 Hide
    jerm1027 , October 2, 2012 10:57 AM
    Quote:
    If you buy a tablet that's seven inches, you can get a $199 tablet -- it's called a Google Nexus or a Kindle Fire," he said. "If you're gonna get a full 10-inch tablet, a tablet to this quality, you're gonna spend $499 to $749

    Considering the 7 has slightly better hardware, and the OUYA is only $99, that must be one hell of a 10" to justify $300-$400; something that should put the iPad 3's to shame.

    On a serious note, drop the price or don't expect sales. You don't have a gaming library, or developer partnerships like OUYA or Sony and there 10" tablets that are cheaper with equal or better hardware.
  • 7 Hide
    freggo , October 2, 2012 11:19 AM
    Never even heard of them before this article.
    No GPS... and $500?
    Screen res. not even close to an iPad (and I am no Apple fan).
    Sorry, but I don't see this flying off the shelves.

  • 4 Hide
    wemakeourfuture , October 2, 2012 11:53 AM
    I wish this was a publicly traded company, I would short it.
  • 1 Hide
    chomlee , October 2, 2012 12:41 PM
    jerm, thanks for the OUYA reference. I never heard of it before but THAT actually sounds exciting.

    This particular device is just another tablet that will fail.
  • 3 Hide
    bluerhythm , October 2, 2012 12:47 PM
    I would much rather prefer to own just the controller itself as a attachment to my tablet.
  • 4 Hide
    Zingam , October 2, 2012 1:08 PM
    Quote:
    Wikipad CEO Defends Tablet's Steep Price
    Wikipad's CEO says the tablet's 10.1-inch size justifies its price.


    Then buy yourself one :D  And you'll have at least one sold!
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , October 2, 2012 1:09 PM
    Its kind of like 3DO all over again... hardware priced high because software is priced low... flopped.
  • 5 Hide
    nocteratus , October 2, 2012 1:55 PM
    I have a 10.1" tablet Android base with almost the same specs and with 32Gb of storage and instead of a controller I have something much more useful, I can put a mobile dock with more features.
    And I paid $400.
  • 2 Hide
    Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer , October 2, 2012 2:14 PM
    I was going to say something to defend this device--after all, hardware controls plus plenty of options for emulation make for an enticing proposition.

    But then there's the Archos Gamepad. And it's really hard to imagine that I'd spend the extra $300+ on a Wikipad...
  • 0 Hide
    TheBigTroll , October 2, 2012 2:29 PM
    since when did it weigh 2.3gbs
  • 0 Hide
    sliem , October 2, 2012 6:22 PM
    Well you can imagine a 1 MB file weighing like a tiny rock and 2.3GBs weighing like a small car.
  • 1 Hide
    bpjerseyboy , October 2, 2012 6:36 PM
    Vorador2The problem is not the device itself. It's the apps, very few are going to be optimized for a controller on a tablet.


    You know, I have been debating this with my gaming cronies and I don't think the price is that bad. Yes, $500 is a lot of money, but you do get quite a bit here. You have a tablet that can run all your standard apps. internet access, etc. When you're bored with that, you snap on the controller and play to your heart's content.

    Vorador's comment at the top is only somewhat accurate. The release of the OUYA ensures that there will definitely be a crossover of games. There are services like onlive that support controller based devices like the Xperia play. Lastly, there are emulators that do the same. I have about 10 of them on my Xperia, all of which support controller input. All these I've mentioned are on top of whatever they will develop specific for the tablet.

    Support is not an issue here if you know how to work with open source products. It's just the size of your wallet that counts.
  • 1 Hide
    Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer , October 2, 2012 7:26 PM
    bpjerseyboyYou know, I have been debating this with my gaming cronies and I don't think the price is that bad.

    It's not that bad. The more I try to argue against it, the better it looks. The best argument I can make (and it's certainly not invalid) is that the Archos Gamepad will cost half as much and be more portable. And the truth is that I really want a portable gaming system; I came this close to ordering a 3DS XL last night. If I can run a GB/GBA emulator and PSX emulator on either device, with full support for the hardware controls, I would be sorely tempted to grab one.
  • 1 Hide
    bpjerseyboy , October 2, 2012 8:57 PM
    Old_Fogie_Late_BloomerThe more I try to argue against it, the better it looks. The best argument I can make (and it's certainly not invalid) is that the Archos Gamepad will cost half as much and be more portable. And the truth is that I really want a portable gaming system;


    Undoubtedly a valid argument. My opting for the Wikipad is really more of a personal preference as I can detach the contoller to double for business applications. If all you are looking for is a gaming tablet, the Gamepad is a fine way to go.
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , October 2, 2012 9:37 PM
    I don't see how this thing got past the inception phase, much less into the prototype and production phase.

    Also, if you're not going to be a specifically-branded hardware platform with your own software titles, why not just make a good controller for use on any android tablet--why make an expensive tablet (with a lot of capital investment) when you can probably have much better profit margins by making a much less-costly item to fabricate and produce? Is bluetooth not a good enough connection to use (not a rhetorical question--I'm honestly asking, having never used a controller via a bluetooth connection).
  • -1 Hide
    830hobbes , October 3, 2012 3:27 AM
    Wikipad? The name sounds like it should have free 3G for life and be optimized as an encyclopedia. An intentional version of what the kindle can be used for. The price would be a little steep but at least it would have a function that other things aren't better at.
  • 0 Hide
    Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer , October 3, 2012 2:07 PM
    teh_chemI don't see how this thing got past the inception phase, much less into the prototype and production phase. Also, if you're not going to be a specifically-branded hardware platform with your own software titles, why not just make a good controller for use on any android tablet--why make an expensive tablet (with a lot of capital investment) when you can probably have much better profit margins by making a much less-costly item to fabricate and produce? Is bluetooth not a good enough connection to use (not a rhetorical question--I'm honestly asking, having never used a controller via a bluetooth connection).

    Here's the one place where I'll give grudging credit where it's due...it's a lot easier to design an accessory for a device when there's only one or two form factors ({cough}iPad{cough}). In contrast, there are a lot of different shapes and sizes of Android tablets, and I suspect it would be pretty hard to make one controller design that worked well with a range of dimensions and didn't feel kludgy.

    I feel like the strength of the Wikipad is that the controller design is specialized to work well with the specific tablet design, giving the assembly a solid, purposeful feel (or so I've read; I haven't tried it myself). I guess the question is, what price are you willing to put on well-integrated physical gaming controls on a device that can be used in scenarios where you want to actually be holding the screen itself (couch, bed, subway, &c.)?
  • -1 Hide
    teh_chem , October 3, 2012 2:29 PM
    Old_Fogie_Late_BloomerHere's the one place where I'll give grudging credit where it's due...it's a lot easier to design an accessory for a device when there's only one or two form factors ({cough}iPad{cough}). In contrast, there are a lot of different shapes and sizes of Android tablets, and I suspect it would be pretty hard to make one controller design that worked well with a range of dimensions and didn't feel kludgy.I feel like the strength of the Wikipad is that the controller design is specialized to work well with the specific tablet design, giving the assembly a solid, purposeful feel (or so I've read; I haven't tried it myself). I guess the question is, what price are you willing to put on well-integrated physical gaming controls on a device that can be used in scenarios where you want to actually be holding the screen itself (couch, bed, subway, &c.)?

    I would agree, if it weren't for the fact that a ton of bluetooth controllers/headsets/keyboards/mice work across platforms and across operating systems without much issue.

    Not to mention, it's not like this tablet is all that different/specific from any other Android tablet being sold today--ICS Android and Tegra3, and uses current games out. The company isn't authoring any games. Also, I guess what I had in my head isn't a tablet-holding controller (as, IMHO, it's straining to hold up your tablet plus controller vs. just a controller for any real period of gaming)--all you'd need is a stand for your tablet, and then just hold the controller (the controller would have the motion/position sensors itself)--shouldn't be difficult to get that to work with most Android platforms over bluetooth. I should say, you can easily use pretty much every bluetooth device that has button controls (say, for media playback controls on a headset, or a BT keyboard/mouse) works on pretty much every device I've ever used--which makes me feel that it shouldn't be all that hard to ensure broad-support fairly easily.

    I don't disagree, addressing a specific hardware platform or a small set of hardware platforms is simpler than addressing all. But so many accessories have already done this without a problem (even cross-OS without issue), it seems like the wikipad is a "because we could" project, rather than a "because this is what the consumers would want" project.
  • -2 Hide
    Old_Fogie_Late_Bloomer , October 3, 2012 3:17 PM
    teh_chemI would agree, if it weren't for the fact that a ton of bluetooth controllers/headsets/keyboards/mice work across platforms and across operating systems without much issue. [...] Also, I guess what I had in my head isn't a tablet-holding controller...it seems like the wikipad is a "because we could" project, rather than a "because this is what the consumers would want" project.

    A single-piece solution is what I, as a consumer, want. I don't want to have to put the tablet on a stand in order to play it. I want to be able to lounge on a couch or in bed with a game, not sit at a table.

    You mentioned weight as an issue, but you can support the device partially with your lap or your stomach (depending on your preferred lounging style), and the device was purposefully made out of plastic in order to be lightweight.

    Yes, Bluetooth controllers work on multiple devices, but unless the controller is designed to do what this one does (attach physically to the tablet), it's irrelevant.
Display more comments