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Wikipad, the company developing an Android tablet of the same name that will ship with an attachable gamepad for console-style gaming, will debut in GameStop retail stores on Oct. 31.
Exclusive launch preorders for the $499 tablet will be accepted starting on Sept. 7 at GameStop stores and the retailer’s website. The deal with GameStop is a coup for Wikipad, since GameStop is the world’s largest game retailer with more than 6,000 stores.
“GameStop is the retail destination when it comes to video games,” said Fraser Townley, the president of sales for Wikipad. “Nobody but GameStop provides gamers with the best gaming content on the market. And for those who purchase or preorder a Wikipad at GameStop, their tablet will have access to valuable extras, including exclusive free, full-length game titles,” to be identified by GameStop at a later date.
The device will be sold at other retailers as well. But Townley added in an interview with GamesBeat, “If GamesBeat did not sell this, we would be doing our jobs wrong. It’s a natural fit, and it would be unnatural if they weren’t selling it.”
He said the tablet functions as a blazing fast and thin business device, and at $499, it is relatively inexpensive compared to similar tablets on the market. The target market will include not only hardcore gamers but working professionals as well.
“The motto will be ‘work hard, game hard,'” Townley said.
“What sets the Wikipad apart from the expanding sea of tablets in the marketplace is its ability to provide a console-like video game experience with its patented attachable controller,” said Joe Gorman, the vice president of GameStop’s mobile business unit. “With Wikipad, I get stunning visual entertainment and applications I expect from a tablet as well as a handheld gaming console experience. The Wikipad has taken mobile gaming to a whole new level. There is nothing else like it in the marketplace.”
Wikipad says the tablet will ship with a full suite of games on platforms such as PlayStation Mobile, Nvidia’s Tegra Zone, Google Play, and others that are currently unannounced. The device has a 10.1-inch IPS screen, a light chassis (560 grams, or 1.2 pounds), expandable memory (1 gigabyte), and the attachable game controller pictured here. The screen has a 16:10 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1280×800. The Wikipad is 8.6 millimeters thick.
The device has a powerful quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 T30 1.4 gigahertz processor at its heart. It also has at least 16 gigabytes of internal flash memory storage, though the exact amount is not set yet. The battery can last for six hours of continuous game play and eight hours of video playback. It will run with the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) version of Google’s mobile operating system. The system has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera.
Townley said he expects the tablet will be in plentiful supply, as he is confident about the company’s ability to scale production to meet demand. Townley said the timing was mainly driven by the desire to include the latest version of Android in the device.
Townley said the Los Angeles-based company has been working on the project for about a year. It has a cores staff of 15 employees and has a total of 58 people working on the device, including contractors.
“We think our timing is good, since the noise this fall is for tablets with smaller screens,” Townley said. “We’ll be in a unique position.”