No matter which way you cut it, the Android-based Wikipad gaming tablet -- dubbed as much despite not having any connection to Wikipedia -- is unusually expensive. As a 10.1-inch Android tablet, it's comparably priced with the leaders of the market (of the Apple and Samsung variety). The obvious problem comparatively with the big dogs: visibility. What is Wikipad, anyway? And who made it?
"This is our first product into the market," consummate salesman and Wikipad CEO James Bower told us in an interview earlier this week -- yes, the company's name is shared with its first product. "We've self-funded the whole concept to this point with a couple of us founders. No VC money or anything," he said (the company did, however, just close its first round of venture capital funding for marketing costs, post-development). Bower's company took the idea of an Android-based gaming tablet with a proprietary, physical (and removable) gamepad from concept to reality in the last year, first revealing the tablet at CES 2012. "We've been able to accomplish a lot very efficiently and very effectively to this point," Bower said, in reference to the approximately 80 people who created the device.
That said, despite our positive hands-on time with the Wikipad (even in its prototype state), $500 is a heck of a lot of money to plunk down on an unproven device from an unproven company. The argument gets harder when you remember Sony's PlayStation Vita -- an arguably much nicer device with a far larger library of gaming content that costs half the Wikipad's price at $249.99. Bower doesn't see the logic in this argument. "It's double the price, but it's also double the size," he pointed out. "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. 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." Admittedly, the tablet -- as a standalone device -- isn't too shabby. But will it woo consumers away from the likes of Apple and Samsung? Bower hopes as much, but we're not so sure.
Gallery: Wikipad hands-on