Skip to main content

Wikipad CEO Defends Tablet's Steep 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.