Remember the Wikipad, the Android-powered gaming tablet/hefty controller rig combo that was supposed to launch in 2012 before suffering delay after delay? Well, the wait is just about over — the company announced earlier today that the $249 gaming tablet will be available on U.S. store shelves starting on June 11, and that a global launch is being prepped for the summer.
The road to an official release has been nothing if not eventful for the Wikipad team. The Android gaming device was originally touted as a 10-inch tablet that was shown off at CES last year and a media tour ahead of a launch slated for the end of October… a deadline that was ultimately pushed back a few times. For a while there it seemed as though the Wikipad might have met its demise, but the tablet re-emerged earlier this year with a 7-inch display running at 1,200 x 800 and the same quad-core Tegra 3 chipset under the hood.
Make no mistake: that 10-inch version is still in the works, but the company hasn’t yet said when it hopes to push the thing out the door save for a vague “Christmas 2013” window. For better or worse, this more portable 7-inch model will be the vanguard of the Wikipad product line, and some early impressions haven’t exactly been bullish on the tablet’s prospects.
To make things worse, the Android gaming scene just isn’t what it was when Wikipad first decided to take a stab at a game-centric tablet. Sure, the quality of these games has only gotten better as time has passed, but the prospect of churning out dedicated Android gaming hardware has been embraced by some prominent hardware players. Take NVIDIA for instance: it recently joined the fray with the ambitious (if pricey) SHIELD handheld, which will feature (among other things) the ability to stream select PC games, as well as play the usual slew of Android titles. If anything, the Wikipad’s big advantage is the relatively small price tag attached to it, but we’ll soon see if it’s enough to enthrall the masses.