On Wednesday cloud gaming service Gaikai said that it has teamed up with WikiPad to produce the world's first gaming tablet. While it's true that most modern tablets already sport console-like gaming capabilities, this gadget will take it one step further by supporting a gamepad-like attachment. Gaikai will produce a client that will be integrated into the tablet's OS, streaming console-quality titles right to the user's fingertips.
The tablet first made its appearance back in January during CES 2012. Still in a prototype stage, it was touted as the first glasses-free 3D Android 4.0-based tablet with an attachable video game controller. Analog sticks resided on each side, and a D-pad was mounted on the left and four action buttons seated to the right. A set of speakers were embedded into the controller at the bottom and shoulder triggers at the top.
On the technical front, the tablet sported an 8-inch touchscreen capable of glasses-free 3D and 1080p playback including H.264, VC1, VOB, ISO, M2TS, and FLV. There were HDMI and USB 2.0 ports, and two cameras (front and rear) for taking pictures and conducting video calls. For storage, it came with 8 GB of on-board capacity and an SD card slot capable of adding an additional 64 GB. Wi-Fi was the connection of choice although the USB 2.0 port indicated that an optional 3G module could also be available.
"Utilizing the Android 4.0 Operating System, the WikiPad is convenient and practical enough to provide the functionality of a standard tablet but uniquely offers an immersive entertainment experience using its auto-stereoscopic, glasses-free 3D technology and patented attachable video game controller," WikiPad Inc. said back in January.
However since its debut, WikiPad has made some changes thanks to feedback provided by eager gamers. "[WikiPad] will launch its tablet with a full suite of the latest immersive entertainment features and enhanced specifications including replacing the 8.1-inch version with a premium 10.1-inch screen, ultra-light chassis, optional 3G antenna for mobile provider subscriptions and a quad core processor," the company said on Wednesday.
As for Gaikai, the cloud company won't provide a "service" similar to OnLive -- that's not what Gaikai does. Think of Gaikai as a delivery system: a gamer purchases the right to stream a specific title via the publisher or an online store, and Gaikai delivers that game on demand. What's likely to happen is WikiPad will include an integrated shop for purchasing media, Android apps and games to stream, yet these games will feature additional support for the tablet's PlayStation-like add-on controller.
"The Wikipad is one of the most exciting devices for gaming to date. The tablet was designed with the needs of gamers in mind, enhancing the mobile gaming experience with a set of controls on par with today’s consoles and PC gamepads, enabling gameplay mechanics that have been previously unavailable with just touchscreen controls," said Robert Stevenson, EVP of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at Gaikai.
The official launch date for the enhanced Wikipad has yet to be announced.