Wikipad Keeps The Dream Alive With A 7-inch, $249 Gaming Tablet

The Wikipad lives! After several delays, the company is ready to bring its gaming contraption to the market. The final model is different from the concepts, but it’s more portable, cheaper and much more slick. I want it.

The Wikipad’s messages is still the same. With controls wrapping around a 7-inch screen, the Wikipad attempts to be Android’s Game Boy — it looks more like a Sega Game Gear. The company hasn’t announced an exact ship date but it’s coming this Spring.

The original Wikipad used a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 screen and a Tegra 3 chip. It was to cost $500 and would probably have failed. Hard.

As Engadget explains, the company delayed the 10.1-inch model for refinement, but as it was approaching launch, the screen manufacturer discounted the Wikipad’s panel. So Wikipad charged forward towards making a smaller model, which was apparently already on the roadmap.

The 7-inch Wikipad still rocks a 1280 x 800 screen, just in a 7-inch form. The gaming controls still backpack onto the tablet, which, still uses a Tegra 3 chip. And now at $249, the tablet actually has a chance to make it in the market. The Wikipad has a chance to be what the PS Vita should have been.

The portable gaming world is missing a device like the $249 Wikipad: A serious, but still affordable gaming platform that can multitask. Sony missed a big opportunity with the PS Vita. The hardware on Sony’s latest portable is fantastic. It’s a powerhouse of computing, but the user experience, and reliance on physical media, stifles its ability to be something other than a gaming machine. And at $249, the PS Vita should be able to browse the web with ease and support a rich, even if it’s limited, ecosystem of apps.

Android gaming could be the next big thing. With dedicated gaming devices like the OUYA, Game Stick and the Wikipad, there will suddenly, almost overnight, be a whole batch of devices craving new games.

The 10-inch Wattpad is still coming, per the company’s president of sales. Look for it by Christmas 2013 and expect Tegra 4 power.