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Gizmondo console revamp 'on track' for Q4 launch, claims boss

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Gizmondo chief Carl Freer has apparently told fans of the failed handheld games console that the gadget will be back on the market and is "on target for a Q4 2008" launch... er... relaunch.

Freer first expressed his desire to revive Gizmondo back in November 2007. At the time, he forecast that the would-be PSP and DS Lite beater could be back on store shelves in May.

Well, it's May now, and with a launch seemingly no longer imminent, Freer contacted fansite Gizmondo Forums with the offer of an interview. The site took him on his word and sent over some questions.

In response, Freer said: "The launch with include more than a relaunch of the same model. There will be many new facets to the launch. We have new products, suites of new games, enhancements to both the hardware and software components.

"Right now, we are on target for a Q4 2008 launch but will be making a series of announcements shortly especially to the developer community. We want this to be a combined effort."

Freer said the revamped hardware will include "a new graphics chip" - the original used an Nvidia part - and "Windows Mobile 6". However, despite the Microsoft OS, the handheld will be "an open platform". Indeed, Freer said the company will post a software development kit (SDK) to allow console owner to code up their own games and apps.

Sales will be handheld through a revamped Gizmondo.com website, which is currently parked with registrar Network Solutions. Freer said the site will also host the SDK and provide third-party developers with a place to sell or simply distribute their offerings.

Freer - if it was Freer - didn't say much more, and didn't reiterate his past comment that he wants to see the hardware go on sale for $99.

Details of the Gametrac, the handheld console that became the Gizmondo were exclusively revealed by The Register way back in December 2003. Delay after delay hit the handheld's launch, and a bid to sponsor what was then the Jordan Formula One racing team ended in legal action when Jordan accused it of reneging on the agreement.

Freer had already left the company before it collapsed. He resigned from the company in October 2005 when colleague Stefan Eriksson's links with Sweden's criminal underworld came to light. Freer had acquired Eriksson's Stockholm-based games company in a bid to kickstart development of software for the handheld. But in 2005, Swedish paper Aftonbladet revealed Eriksson had received criminal convictions in the 1990s.

Eriksson later made headlines after being involved in a high-speed Ferrari Enzo crash in Malibu, California. At the time, he blamed the prang on a man named 'Dieter', who he claimed had been the driver. Ultimately, he did porridge after being charged with embezzlement and being a felon in posession of a firearm. He was released from jail in January.

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