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Gizmondo wins major UK retail backers

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Gizmondo today confirmed its eponymous handheld games console will go on sale in select GameStation, Carphone Warehouse and John Lewis stores this coming weekend.

The machine launched in the UK on 19 March, at Gizmondo's own Regent Street, London store. The company claims to have sold out on the day, though it cunningly hasn't said exactly how many consoles it had available to sell on the day. Whatever, it's likely to be some way short of Nintendo's record 87,000-unit UK debut.

Still, John Lewis and co. must be reasonably confident of demand and supply. Both JL and Carphone Warehouse will be selling the product through their websites, though store availability has clearly been divvied up on a regional basis. CW will offer the console only in a number of its Manchester stores, GameStation in Edinburgh and Birmingham, and JL through its London stores, along with Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Bristol and a handful of other locations.

Gizmondo itself pledged it would back the weekend's retail roll-out with "comprehensive retail marketing campaigns, to include TV, outdoor and print media".

It needs to, if it's to make the most of the delay to Sony's European PlayStation Portable roll-out. The PSP is now not expected until the end of June. The Gizmondo's strength lies in its multimedia playback facilities - more open than PSP's - and its integrated mobile phone network connectivity, courtesy of Vodafone, for online access.

Gizmondo said it was still on track to ship its handheld in the US and continental Europe in the Spring. ®

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