The Wikipad is back (but smaller) and Ouya will get annual updates

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Source: Wikipad

Ah, the ephemeral Wikipad is back in the news! You remember it, right? It's that Android tablet designed for gamers, with the crazy controller attachment. I think we first talked about it in January 2012 when it was going to be an 8" Android tablet with glasses-free 3D, designed for gamers. Then in July we got word that the Wikipad had decided to pass on the 3D aspect, but it had changed size to 10". In September we learned that it would ship on October 31st with a $499 price and that you could pre-order it from Gamestop. But at the last minute, the WikiPad encountered another delay.

[Ouya game console headed to retail. Here's why I'm excited. and Watch out, Ouya! There's a Gamestick on your six!]

A little over three months have passed since then. So what's happened since Halloween? The Wikipad has changed size again. It's now a 7" tablet with a more rational $249 price. Otherwise the specs don't seem to have changed much. It still has a Tegra 3 processor, a 1280x800 display, one GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage space. The controller still detaches, leaving you with a general purpose 7" tablet for your non-gaming needs. Polygon has a lot of details, noting that the 8 megapixel rear-facing camera is gone, and that the tablet and controller together weigh a hefty 1.68 lbs. (The tablet alone is just .71 lbs.) They also talk to Wikipad's managing director and president of sales Fraser Townley about why they opted to go with a smaller size and what the delay was all about. Alternatively you can read the press release.

A concrete shipping date hasn't been announced but they're aiming for spring. The Wikipad will support the Google Play store, and it'll be Playstation Certified. They're promising OnLive support as well.

So that's for folks who want a handheld Android gaming device. If you're more in the market for an Android console there's always the Ouya which we just talked about earlier this week.

Well yesterday we heard another interesting detail about the Ouya; the company is planning on annual revisions of the hardware. Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman told Engadget that the company is following something like the cellphone model. Every year a new Ouya with the latest processor will hit store shelves. As the cost of flash RAM falls later iterations might get more storage space as well. You can upgrade every year, or every other year, or whenever suits you. All your games and apps of course will be available on your new Ouya system.

It's an interesting idea. Assuming they stick to the $100 price an upgrade every year or two seems pretty feasible, particularly considering you won't have to start building a new library of software. On the other hand this news might hurt retail sales come June; how many prospective customers might just wait for a Tegra 4 version to ship next year?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on an annually updated game console. And is anyone considering the Wikipad?

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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