Nov 17th, 2012 publishUpdated   Nov 28th, 2012, 5:20 pm

At midnight tonight, Nintendo will launch the Wii U (visit, for full coverage).

Look familiar? How about you take a Google TV set top box:

And add a Wikipad:

Thought so.

Nintendo’s newest version of the Wii leverages a tablet-style controller that introduces an entirely new style of gameplay. Imagine “unlocking” different views using your tablet. Maybe after chucking a deep pass in Madden NFL, you have to reach in the air and lock your tablet’s focus onto the ball to pull down the catch. Or how about lifting your tablet in the air in a first persion shooter to view your weapon through the scope or use night vision Goggles?

I love the concept, and I’ve already pre-ordered a Wii U myself, but I can’t help but feel envy and jealousy on behalf of Google TV fans everywhere. The product has been out for a couple years now but Google has not made the platform a priority, and so unsurprisingly both manufacturers and developers have failed to support it through production of products, apps, and games.

When Google announced GTV two years ago at Google IO, they offered a solid product proposition: in a world where so much concern is placed on the size and quality of our device screens, it’s absurd that the largest screen we own (our televisions) have experienced very little technological growth compared to mobile devices. By leveraging Android on GTV, Google could effectively jumpstart a television revolution, bringing apps and games into a unique experience enjoyed on big screen TVs.

Then, at IO 2011, Google announced Android Open Accessory and Android @ Home designed so 3rd party manufacturers could more easily build and create meaningful products within the Android ecosystem.

Then an Android device emerged called the Wikipad (currently delayed) that when combined with a Google TV, pretty much replicates a Wii U, only the GTV/Wikipad combination isn’t limited to the constructs of gaming.

The Wii U will likely be a huge consumer success during the 2012 holiday season while Google TV sits on the sidelines, jealous. It’s long-term value will likely be determined within the first several months as the early adopter wave comes to a consensus on its entertainment value. I’m hoping it takes off, Google takes note, and it helps jumpstart the GTV product line in the same way Apple jumpstarted the consumer demand for tablets.

Did you pre-order a Wii U? Do you plan on buying one? Will Google TV become the next Wii U or is it headed for doom?

local_offer    release dates  Wii U  WikiPad