OnLive’s CloudLift Comes to Wikipad, and They’re Passing the Savings Along to You

OnLive’s CloudLift Comes to Wikipad, and They’re Passing the Savings Along to You

Jul 2, 2014

OnLive’s CloudLift service, which brings selected Steam games from users’ existing libraries to Android tablets via OnLive for a monthly fee, is coming to the Wikipad, the Android tablet with gamepad attachment. With this joining of forces comes a series of bargains.

First, CloudLift is now $7.99 a month, down from $14.99.

Second, Wikipad is going on sale for $159 with free shipping, with a free month of OnLive’s PlayPack and CloudLift. Just use the promo code E3WIKIPAD to get the discounts.

Wikipad Announces Gamevice, a Universal Version of Their Tablet’s Gamepad Controller

Wikipad Announces Gamevice, a Universal Version of Their Tablet’s Gamepad Controller

Jan 13, 2014

One of the great things about the Wikipad is its gamepad controller, which made it a surprisingly great way to play games on the 7″ tablet. However, it was proprietary to the Wikipad. Looks like that won’t be the case any more, as Wikipad recently announced the Gamevice, an external gamepad built for any tablet. It will be built for Android and Windows 8 devices, the latter being the really interesting thing considering the breadth of PC games out there. Until then, to get the Wikipad experience, one will just have to buy a Wikipad, though that is getting an update with Jelly Bean 4.2 and touchscreen to button mapping. Huzzah!

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Wikipad Gaming Tablet Hardware Review

Wikipad Gaming Tablet Hardware Review

Aug 28, 2013

The Wikipad, the long-awaited 7″ tablet with a controller attachment, is in theory a great device. The gamepad attachment looks a bit big and goofy at first, but it’s a comfortable experience and one of my favorite ways to play games now. But the hardware being a year behind current high-end tablets, especially as a gaming device, causes the Wikipad’s overall value to suffer, which is a shame: this is a fantastic concept.

The body and guts of the tablet are the same as the original Nexus 7: it’s about the same size, has a rubberized back (though with back ridges that jut out), has a Tegra 3 processor with 1 GB of RAM, all the same basics. Running a 3DMark benchmark showed a score of 3629, compared to 4185 in their database for the 2012 Nexus 7, (Update: Futuremark reached out to me and said that this is an error: 3800-3900 is the average benchmark score for the 2012 Nexus 7, the 2013’s benchmark scores are currently mixed in with the old model’s scores.) but it actually outclasses it in two fashions: one, it has a microSD card slot built in so that its storage can be expanded, which is key for the gamer audience that this tablet targets. Second, it has a microHDMI output on the top of the tablet, which is something that the Nexus 7 lacked (even with SlimPort or MHL functionality through the microUSB).

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The tablet is laid out in an intelligent way. Yes, 7-inch tablets are actually quite usable in portrait, but like most tablets, they’re great because they can be used in landscape. And the Wikipad puts its microUSB slot on the bottom, with all other inputs on the top. Sure, it has to by necessity of the gamepad attachment, but still, it’s nice to use a tablet and not have to awkwardly place my hand around the charging cable. And the Wikipad seems to have a lot of background battery drain for whatever reason, so I’m glad it isn’t in the way.

OS-wise, the Wikipad is running 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, which is disappointing now that 4.3 is out and 4.2 has been out for a decent spell. The rest of the OS is largely untouched, so I hope that Wikipad is hard at work at bringing the OS up to speed with 4.3.

Now, the gamepad attachment. Yes, this thing is big, considering that it envelopes the entire tablet. But it turns the 7″ tablet into something that’s the width and height of the Surface Pro, so it’s not necessarily all that huge. It feels a bit weird at first holding a controller that’s far wider than the standard-width gamepads on the market, but it’s not a bad thing.

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Thanks to the rubberized construction, this thing is an ergonomic joy. The shoulder triggers and bumpers all work well. The face buttons are solid. The d-pad works exceptionally and is great for fighting games if Samurai Shodown 2 is any indication. The joysticks were the only area of skepticism with me, when I tried out Dead Trigger, I had to change the sensitivity of looking in-game in order to make them feel better. Still, using these joysticks was a lot better than the touch screen. I was dropping zombies left and right, which is quite welcome for that game.

The combination of tablet and gamepad attachment is not particularly weighty: perhaps holding it in one hand feels a bit heavy, but with two hands, the weight is properly distributed and feels very comfortable. This is a perfect device for sitting back, and enjoying some Android games that support gamepads. The built-in TegraZone app (also available on Google Play) has a gamepad section that’s worth perusing, though it’s not an exhaustive list. Really, Google not showing which games are compatible with the gamepad is a drawback that needs to be addressed.

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The gamepad attachment has a microUSB charging port and powered speakers to go along with it, and the charging port is set up in a way that it’s pointing outward, so there’s no awkward cable bending. There was a lot of thought that went into the Wikipad’s physical design, and it shows.

The one big deviation on the OS level is the inclusion of PlayStation Mobile, which is really cool: some of the indie games that are on PS Vita are available here! Except this winds up being a disappointment: there’s no gamepad support! This could be addressed in one of two ways, either Sony enabling HID gamepads in Android for PSM games (since they largely require the manual enabling of a virtual gamepad anyways), or Wikipad implementing touchscreen-to-gamepad mapping. It’s something Archos’ gaming tablet supports, and is something that rooted third-party apps can do, but sadly is not present here despite it seeming quite possible. Think about it: if every game could become possible to use with the gamepad, the value here would be enormous.

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As for the tablet’s current value, it’s $250 for the tablet and the gamepad. Now, here’s where the problem with the Wikipad lies. This is year-old hardware. Google just refreshed the Nexus 7 and it’s $229 for its 16 GB model, though a decent gamepad isn’t. Nvidia just released the Shield, which is $299 but also one of the most powerful Android devices available with the Tegra 4 processor. So it’s at a disadvantage that it wasn’t at, say, 5 or 6 months ago.

This is not to say that it’s not still capable hardware: it plays most if not all games quite well, though I did notice the occasional stuttering. But that’s true of the 2012 Nexus 7 as well, and given that it’s a very popular device, most if not all games will support it. It’s just, especially for gamers, who are a performance-focused group on the whole, offering them a sub-optimal horsepower is a major ding.

It’s true that this is a unique package, with the gamepad attachment. Just based on that alone, it’s a more interesting proposition than the Playstation Vita because of the screen size. And given the HDMI output and just general design, it’s got a lot of compelling features. But the horsepower issue is one that will keep coming up.

This is kind of like the Surface Pro, a device in comparable size: both are really great ideas, but as products their first generations suffer from not having the most up-to-date hardware. The Surface Pro, with the Intel Haswell processor microarchitecture and its improved power management should make any potential second generation much better. The first generation? Buying into the idea as much as the product. That’s the same with the Wikipad: it’s going to need people buying into the idea, willing to put up with hardware that is not at its peak in order to get what they want eventually. The Wikipad is perhaps the best tablet gaming experience out there on paper, it just needs more horsepower under the hood to be something I can wholeheartedly recommend.

Long-Awaited Wikipad Gaming Tablet Has a Release Date

Long-Awaited Wikipad Gaming Tablet Has a Release Date

Jun 4, 2013

The Wikipad, the long-in-development Android gaming tablet that showed itself recently at GDC, is one step closer to getting into the public’s hands. Wikipad has announced that next Tuesday, June 11th, the Wikipad 7 will be available in the US for $249. Those interested in buying it will be able to get it online from Best Buy, Walmart, and TigerDirect. It will be made available internationally at a later time.

The tablet’s specs remain the same from what we learned at GDC: 7" IPS screen at 1280×800, 16 GB of memory with a microSD slot, and a Tegra 3 processor. And of course, there’s the all-important gamepad attachment that makes the Wikipad a gaming-optimized device.

The Playstation Mobile partnership still comes in tow, meaning that a selection of original titles not yet available elsewhere on Android such as Super Crate Box and rymdkapsel will be supported by the Wikipad. Given Sony’s push to get original content for the Vita from indie developers, this means that the Wikipad could also be the benefactor of some original titles. As well, Big Fish Instant Games will come preloaded with cloud access to over 250 titles. Plus, the gamepad will have HID support for any Android games that support controllers, so plenty of games will be available for those picking up the Wikipad. We’ll have more as we get our hands on it, hopefully soon.

GDC 2013: Wikipad’s Gaming Tablet is Finally a Reality

GDC 2013: Wikipad’s Gaming Tablet is Finally a Reality

Apr 2, 2013

Calm down, internet. After delays caused some people to threaten the team at Wikipad with death for not getting their gaming tablet out on time, they finally showcased the final production version of the gaming tablet at GDC 2013 last week.

The tablet portion of the Wikipad is essentially the same as a Nexus 7. It has a Tegra 3 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and an 1280×800 IPS screen. However, there’s a few feature checklist improvements: a higher-resolution camera that’s oriented to be in the top center of landscape orientation, an expandable microSD slot, and an HDMI output for playing games on the TV. These are all located on the top of the device when in landscape orientation, which is very important because this is designed as a gaming tablet, and because the all-important micro-USB slot for the controller attachemnt plugs in at the bottom.

Yes, the controller attachment is the really interesting part of this device, which brings the standard gaming layout of 4 face buttons and 4 shoulder buttons to something that attaches to the tablet itself through the bottom micro-USB port. The controller has a rubberized grip for comfort, and it doesn’t add much weight to the tablet, it’s still light, though it is definitely bulky, and the analog sticks felt very loose out of the box when playing Dead Trigger.

There’s an SDK for developers to use to implement Wikipad controls, but the controller also boasts HID support for games that don’t have the SDK specifically enabled. The team is promising to go with as open an approach as possible – games can be acquired from whatever marketplace the user desires, as there is no special Wikipad store. Well, not necessarily: the device will support PlayStation Mobile, meaning that games on Sony’s store (that are also available for devices like the PlayStation Vita) will be playable on there. However, not all titles have controller support yet, but Wikipad is in touch with Sony to try to get more titles supporting the controller. They’re also investigating mapping touchscreen input to the controller.

The 7″ tablet with controller will be available for $249, and is in production now with units shipping out to distributors very soon.