Lemons to lemonade: how manufacturing and mechanical setbacks shrank the Wikipad

A smaller, cheaper gaming tablet? Wikipad President of sales Fraser Townley says it was always in the cards -- but it was supposed to be the company's second tablet, not its first. Business, of course, doesn't always go according to plan. Just before the Wikipad's planned October launch, the company stayed production to refine the product's gamepad element, Townley told us, addressing a technical hiccup that could have troubled customers. Not too long after that, the company's screen supplier told them the part they had hoped to use for the Wikipad's 10.1-inch display was being discontinued. Salt? Meet wound.

Wikipad set out to make the best of a bad situation: it skipped a step. "The 7-inch was always in our roadmap and on our plan," Townley told us, "we just accelerated it." That decision was partly made to please the community, which was a little concerned about price. At $249, the new Wikipad is certainly easier on the pocket book, but the redesign delayed the product just long enough to leave it teetering on the edge of a new generation -- the next Tegra chip is right around the corner. Fortunately, so is another Wikipad -- Townley told us the tablet's original 10.1-inch form would be out by the end of the year. He couldn't say if the delayed slate would be using NVIDIA's latest, but he left the possibility wide open. "There would be no point in launching a Tegra 3 tablet just months before the launch of Tegra 4, would there?" he joked. "We'll keep up with the market." An admirable goal, to say the least.