Continuing with plans to create its own mobile gaming platform, GameStop has begun selling tablets with games preinstalled. Based on previous announcements, most people expected the company to launch its own tablet, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Instead of delivering something unique, GameStop has simply partnered with major Android tablet manufacturers including Acer, Asus and Samsung. You can purchase GameStop-exclusive versions of the 7-inch Iconia Tab, 10.1-inch Eee Pad Transformer and 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab for their standard prices of $329, $399 and $499.
However, they come with six free games: Dead Space, Re-Load, Sonic CD, Monster Madness, Riptide GP and Cordy. Folks who buy tablets through GameStop will also get a link to Digital Game Informer along with the Kongregate Arcade app, which contains over 580 free games. Although it hasn't gone as far as developing its own slate, GameStop is offering an exclusive Bluetooth gamepad with rechargeable batteries and a customizable button configuration.
When GameStop revealed its plans to enter the tablet segment earlier this year, one of the most common criticisms noted how lousy it can be to play games with touch controls. The gamepad seems like it addresses those concerns -- for a price. The controller is fetching $39 and unless you intend to play with your tablet on a flat surface, you'll probably have to purchase or jury-rig some kind of stand. In the case of the Transformer, its keyboard dock will set you back $99.
There's obviously a market for mobile gaming, but the platform tends to favor casual titles. Smartphones and tablets have less hardware resources and interface options, and people generally have less time to play (per session) on mobile platforms. Do we really need a third-party game supplier for those devices? I'm not big on mobile gaming, but the standard iOS and Android marketplaces seem to have things covered. Would you buy a tablet or controller from GameStop?
The Acer Iconia Tab A500 carries a 1280x800 display with 80-degree viewing angles and the ability to register input from all 10 fingers. You'll also find 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (a 32GB model is in the works), a microSD card reader that can handle up to 32GB cards, a 5MP rear camera with flash and auto-focus and a 2MP front cam. Connectivity includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI-out, USB and GPS.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is the first tablet from Samsung with a 10.1-inch HD display and supporting HSPA+, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n connectivity. It also features a 3 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front camera, providing seamless 1080p HD video. The device is powered by a 1GHz dual core application processor.
The Asus Eee Pad Transformer TF101 has a 10-inch 1280×800 IPS Gorilla Glass capacitive touchscreen display, a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 5MP rear and 1.2MP front cameras, a Micro SD expansion slot, HDMI port, USB 2.0, 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, as well as a G-sensor, light sensor, gyroscope, e-compass.
The Motorola Xoom is powered by a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 SoC. It also sports a 1280x800 display resolution, 32GB of onboard storage (expandable via SD), 1GB of DDR2 RAM, and given the increasing popularity of video calling, Motorola has included a 2-megapixel camera on the front while the rear is outfitted with a 5-megapixel camera with dual LED flash. I/O includes a micro USB 2.0 port, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. Battery life is said to peak at about 10 hours of video playback. It supports both 3G and 4G.
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