The Android-based gaming machines are piling up in 2013, first with the 7-inch Gamepad from Archos with built-in controls, the OUYA stand-alone console slated for a June release, and now the 7-inch Wikipad tablet. On Thursday, Wikipad Inc. uploaded a picture to Twitter showing the first completed unit rolling off the production line.
In February, the company said its Android gaming tablet will be offered at leading retailers this spring for $249. Unlike the Archos solution, it doesn't come packed with gaming controls mounted in the tablet's chassis; these will be offered as an attachable accessory. This way, owners have the option of using the device as a thin, 0.42-inch tablet when watching movies, browsing the Internet or catching up on Facebook.
According to the specs, the gaming tablet packs a 1.4 GHz Tegra 3 quad-core SoC from Nvidia, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, an SD card slot for 32 GB of extra storage, a front-facing 2 MP camera, and dual-band Wireless-N and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. The 7-inch IPS screen provides full 5-point multi-touch functionality and a default resolution of 1280 x 800 (16:10 ratio), powered by Google's Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" OS. A micro-HDMI port allows gamers to pump the action straight to their HDTV.
With the controller attached, the Wikipad measures 11.26 (W) x 5.71 (H) x 2.57 (D) inches, and weighs 1.23 pounds – 0.71 pounds without the controller. This attachment provides everything you need to get your Android game on, including analog sticks, directional buttons, and a few others – shoulder buttons apparently are not included.
Wikipad, Inc. originally planned to launch a 10-inch version, but that never surfaced, most likely due to the starting price of $499. The company said in February that this larger model is still "forthcoming" even though it shares the same specs. Both will have access to Google Play, meaning overall gamers won't have to re-purchase their favorite titles unless they have functions specifically mapped to the tablet's controller (like the MOGA), or gamers want the added benefits of Tegra 3 graphical features.
"We wanted to get Wikipad into our community’s hands and what we found was that the smaller 7-inch form factor just seemed right," said Fraser Townley, President of Sales, Wikipad, Inc. "The smaller frame delivers an aggressive price while keeping the same amazing specs."
Just for the record, Google's current Nexus 7 tablet, starting at $199, sports a 1.3 GHz Tegra 3 SoC, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB or 32 GB of storage, and a 7-inch IPS screen with a default resolution of 1280 x 800. Other specs include single-band Wireless-N and Bluetooth connectivity, a front-facing 1.2 MP camera, and Android 4.2 "Jelly Bean." Unlike the Wikipad, it doesn't have an SD card slot, dual-band wireless, or HDMI output. The Nexus 7's Tegra 3 clock speed is also slightly slower.
That said, buying the Wikipad for $249 doesn't seem like a bad deal at all. Perhaps we'll get some hands-on time soon.