Wikipad CEO Talks Tablet Design, Detachable Controller, and Cloud Gaming
If you’re into tablet PC’s and gaming, you might have heard of the Wikipad. It’s been making waves in the game industry since it was shown at CES 2012 in Las Vegas as a tablet that can replicate console-like gaming experiences with it’s high-end components as well as it’s detachable controller – a first of it’s kind – on a tablet.
I had a chance to talk to James Bower, CEO of Wikipad Inc. to talk about the gaming tablet’s design, its unique detachable controller, features, cloud-gaming support, and what people can expect from the state-of-the-art gaming tablet when it comes out later this year.
Check out the full interview with the Wikipad CEO after the break.
JTM Games: What was the inspiration in creating the Wikipad?
James Bower: When we came up with the concept last year of building a mobile gaming console that also has the ability to operate as a tablet, we really felt like we had to design one of the best tablets on the market for gamers to take it seriously. So we focused on adding all of the highest-end components to the recipe to make this tablet which includes the Tegra 3 quad-core processor, broadcom wi-fi module, and all the different aspects that you would expect from a tablet.
But we also went a step further; we realized it was very important for a tablet of this size to be very thin and very light. A little less than 560 grams in fact.
JTM Games: What operating system will the Wikipad run on?
James Bower: When we launch the Wikipad, it’s going to be running Android Jellybean, which is the latest build for Android OS’.
JTM Games: Could you tell us about the Wikipad’s detachable controller? It’s the first tablet to feature a controller that could replicate game consoles and handhelds.
James Bower: From accomplishing getting the tablet to where it is now, we then embarked upon building the controller. The controller had to feel right; if the balance wasn’t right, then the experience wasn’t going to be good. It also had to remain very light, so as you’ll see when they come together one of the biggest reactions we get when people first set their hands on it “wow it’s much lighter than it looks” and that the balance is really good.
JTM Games: What were your thoughts when you decided to design and create the Wikipad’s controller?
James Bower: One of the things that I’ve always looked at is where technology starts to converge. And for me as I travel a lot, I want to carry the least amount of devices as I possibly can; to do as much as I would like to do. When someone’s going into the boardroom or when someone’s going into the classroom or the research lab, they’re not nesecarrily going to want to have a device that looks like a gaming device. It might not be socially acceptable in that type of setting.
But at the same time, when you’re on the train or you’re on the plane or on the bus or wherever it may be, you want to have that gaming device that can do everything. So we took the approach and believe the fact that the consumer is going to want a modular type design to where they can take this tablet – which is a fantastic tablet – and they can work hard, study hard; but they can also come home or go to wherever they going and game hard. We spent a lot of time working on and preparing the controller to be balanced, light, and feel similar to the type of controller you’d expect from this device.
JTM Games: How big is the hard drive/memory that’s going to be included when Wikipad launches? Will there be other SKU’s with larger hard drives later on?
James Bower: It’s going to be 16 Gigabytes initially, and it has an expansion slot for an additional 32 GB memory on top of that. As for other SKU’s with larger drives, it’s certainly a possibility; it’s not a limitation of the design, it just depends on what the market wants and what the price points are. It’s something that we can add into the mix if we feel that the market wants that.
JTM Games: One thing I noticed that separates Wikipad’s design is that there’s a ridge on the back of the tablet. Could you tell us about this design decision?
James Bower: As you touch the back of the tablet, you’ll feel a ridge. That’s very intentional for a couple of reasons. Not only does it help secure the controller on the tablet itself, but it also provides a ridge for you to hold onto it with one hand. Many times you grab a tablet and if you don’t have your protective case, it’s very difficult and delicate to hold on to. With the ridge, it doesn’t matter what aspect ratio, you can hold the Wikipad with one hand.
There’s additional benefits to the ridge. If you’re setting the Wikipad down while playing content, the ridges actually lift the tablet off the ground a little bit which helps in the dispersement of heat. Now Tegra 3 by it’s nature is very efficient doesn’t give off that much heat. But if you’re going to be playing content for long periods of time with the tablet lying down, these ridges help out with the dispersement of heat off the machine.
One of the things that I like the most about the ridge is a little added function; the tablet has fantastic speakers on it and it’s going to be one of the best sounding tablets on the market. When you lay the tablet down, the ridge lifts up the tablet and amplifies the sound. You can actually enjoy great sounding music without the need to attach the tablet to other accessories or speakers.
JTM Games: With Cloud-Gaming services becoming fairly popular these days, do you see the Wikipad being able to handle streaming uninterrupted games through these current and future services?
James Bower: That’s one of the great things about this device, we’re already pre-certified and pre-approved on the various cloud-gaming platforms, so you’re not gonna have to upgrade in a few months to get access to those services as they come about. As far as the latency is concerned, behind closed doors we’ve tested a lot of really fantastic games running on servers hundreds of miles away and you don’t notice the difference; you don’t notice the lag time. It’s really a solid experience.
JTM Games: Will all games released for the Wikipad support both controller and touchscreen, or is it left up to the developer?
James Bower: It’s really left up to the developer; the tablet by itself without the controller will play all of the standard Android games that are available on the Android market. With the controller, if the game is callibrated for gamepad support, the controller will work very well with it. The same with PlayStation Mobile games as well.
As far as cloud-gaming services obviously they’re all Triple-A games and so most if not all cloud-streaming services are going to demand gamepad support. From that perspective, we’re in a very good position given the fact that the tablet will come bundled with a controller.
JTM Games: Let’s talk battery life; how long will the Wikipad last when playing media content versus playing games?
James Bower: Playing media content, the Wikipad’s battery is going to last just under nine hours. With gameplay, depending on the intensity of the game, it’s going to vary from there.
JTM Games: When can gamers expect the Wikipad to be released to the market?
James Bower: The launch date for the Wikipad is going to be well before the holidays. It’s imminent; one of the first major retailers is going to make an announcement within the next week or so.
It’s sleek, light, and has the highest quality tech available. It also features the first detachable tablet game controller making its launch one to look out for. With its Tegra 3 quad-core processor, the latest Android operating system, and more recently, support for Sony’s PlayStation Mobile Suite, the Wikipad is set to take the gaming community by storm when it releases this holiday season.