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Gizmondo Handheld Launches In Europe

Gizmondo Handheld Launches In Europe

March 21, 2005 | By David Jenkins

March 21, 2005 | By David Jenkins
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More: Console/PC

The Gizmondo handheld has at last launched in the UK, with a debut last Friday (just a week after the Nintendo DS), at the dedicated Gizmondo store on Londonís expensive Regent Street, with claims of 800 to 1,000 sales in the first day.

The launch and subsequent party was attended by an impressive host of likely expensively flown-in stars, including Tom Green, Busta Rhymes, Pharrell Williams, Clipse, Dannii Minogue and Verne 'Mini Me' Troyer, as well as performances from Sting and Jamiroquai. Michael Carrender, CEO of Tiger Telematics, commented: "The handheld entertainment sector is an enormously exciting place to be right now, and we are delighted to be part of the revolution that it is undergoing."

The console itself uses the Windows CE.NET operating system and Windows Media Player. It is powered by a Samsung ARM9 400MHz processor, 64MB onboard memory and a 128-bit NVIDIA GoForce 3D 4500 graphics accelerator. As well as gaming the console also advertises music and video playback, SMS, picture messaging, e-mail and has an in-built camera and global positioning (GPS) functionality.

The launch was not entirely smooth sailing for Gizmondo Europe, though, with consumer reports of defective units, with hardware crashes, boot problems, dead pixels and inoperative e-mail and/or GPS features being amongst problems reporting online. The machine currently retails for £229 ($434), and thus far there are two launch title available for it: Fathammer Classics (of which no mention can be found on Gizmondoís website) and Trailblazer (apparently an update of the Commodore 64 game of the same name.)

Furthermore, Gizmondo Europeís parent company, Florida-based Tiger Telematics, has somewhat of a checkered history, according to a CBS Marketwatch report noting that the companyís shares were removed from the OTC Bulletin Board in May 2003 for not meeting periodic reporting requirements, and the company was sued by Formula 1 racing competitor Jordan for $3 million over a dispute regarding a sponsorship arrangement.

The Gizmondo product line is likely to roll out to other UK retail outlets, including John Lewis, in the near future, and the company is insisting that launches in continental Europe are imminent and that a U.S. launch may be possible this year.

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