Tapwave charts Zodiac handheld release

Not avoiding N-Gagement

Tapwave's upcoming Palm OS-based handheld gaming console will be branded the Zodiac, the company said yesterday.

Formerly codenamed 'Helix', the machine will ship in two versions, one with 32MB of RAM, the other with 128MB. The two Zodiacs will be priced at $299 and $399, respectively. Both with sport 480 x 320 colour screens and built-in Bluetooth connectivity for multi-player gaming and Net access via a suitably equipped mobile phone.

Tapwave expects to ship Zodiac in October, though it will be available for pre-order come mid-September.

That puts its release slap bang in the timeframe Nokia has earmarked to ship its N-Gage handheld games console-cum-cellphone. Tapwave presumably hopes that Nokia's promotional activity will have a knock-on effect on its own efforts to push Zodiac.

That said, Tapwave is targeting a slightly older market than Nokia's 'yoof' customers. Zodiac will include Palm OS 5.2's organiser functions, allowing owners to use the device as a PDA as well as a games machine, and synchronise their personal data with a PC. ®

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