We first saw the Wikipad tablet, which features a detachable game controller and runs on Android OS, way back at CES 2012. After that though, its release date passed, and we didn't hear anything new about the gaming-centered device. But that doesn't mean the Wikipad disappeared – the developers have been busy over the past year redesigning the tablet with almost completely different features, including a 7-inch screen, extra storage space, and Android 4.1 support.
The new Wikipad still retains the ergonomic, attachable game controls, but now features a slew of upgrades. Most noticeably, the screen has been changed to a 7-inch, 16:10 IPS display with a 1280x800 resolution, and the whole device is smaller overall. Without the controller, the tablet weighs only 0.71 lbs (320 grams) and has a thickness of 0.42 inches (10.6 mm), putting it almost on par with the Nexus 7 in terms of size.
Inside the case, the Wikipad now comes with 16 GB of flash storage, which can be increased up to 32 GB through a Micro SD slot. It also features a new NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with a quad-core CPU and 5th battery saver core, plus a 12-core GPU – perfect for playing even the more graphics-heavy games. All of this will be running on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) OS with 1GB DDR3 of internal memory.
The Wikipad will also incorporate a 2-megapixel, front-facing camera and microphone for video conferencing, along with an HDMI output for playing games and other media on a larger screen. It will only connect to the internet over Wifi (no 3G or 4G capability available as yet) and comes with the usual accelerometers and gyroscopes found in most tablets these days.
In keeping with the video game focus, the tablet will come preloaded with apps to access several game services, including NVIDIA's TegraZone, Big Fish Unlimited, and PlayStation Mobile. Despite clearly being put forward as a "gaming tablet," the Wikipad functions just as well as a regular tablet for browsing the internet, streaming movies, reading e-books, and so on.
According to a company spokesperson, the redesign and subsequent delay in production was due to a flaw in the initial production run of a planned 10-inch version of the tablet. The 10-inch Wikipad is still on the developers' agenda, but the focus is on the 7-inch model right now.
Back at CES 2012, one of the highlighted features of the Wikipad was a glasses-free 3D display, but the website currently makes no mention of a 3D screen. It's likely this has been removed as apart of the redesign, but we have reached out to the company to confirm if that is the case and will update you if we hear back.
The redesigned Wikipad is due on store shelves in spring 2013, with a price of US$249, putting it in a solid position to compete with other 7-inch Android tablets on the market. Just going by the specs, it seems the tablet is quite comparable to Google's Nexus 7 in many respects, with the game controller acting as a handy bonus. We'll have to see how it stacks up when it's released later this year.