First Signs of the Zodiac

First Signs of the Zodiac First Signs of the Zodiac

Today, Tapwave announced that its highly anticipated mobile entertainment console, the Tapwave Zodiac, is available for pre-order at the official web site.

Content for the Zodiac, such as Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, id Software's DOOM II and Midway's SpyHunter, among others, will also be available for purchase on the company website starting in October. Other well-known video game titles including Atari's Neverwinter Nights and several classic Sega Genesis titles will also be available for the Zodiac console in the months ahead. Also, coming in January 2004 is Duke Nukem Mobile, which will open a new chapter of Duke's Universe for the mobile-minded gamer. Tapwave will start shipping both the Zodiac and games for the console to consumers by the end of October.

With two models, the Zodiac 1 for USD 299 (32MB of internal RAM) and the Zodiac 2 for USD 399 (128MB of internal RAM), the Zodiac addresses the on-the-go lifestyle needs of technology enthusiasts, providing both fun and function in a sleek, handheld product. Zodiac was designed from the ground up for a high-performance mobile entertainment experience centered on games, music, pictures and video. It also offers the added benefit of running a Tapwave enhanced version of the Palm Operating System (5.2T) and provides immediate access to the more than 19,000 existing applications.

The Tapwave Zodiac has many unique and innovative features that offer the right combination of functionality, technology and portability for a true on-the-go entertainment and video game experience.

Controls: The 6.3 ounce, anodized-aluminum Zodiac features a full analog controller (or joystick) with 360 degrees of motion, built-in triggers and action button array for a console-quality gaming experience.

Sound: The built-in stereo speakers and headphone jack let users listen to MP3s and gaming soundtracks.

Expansion: Dual expansion slots let customers easily add up to a gigabyte of additional memory with SD flash cards. Zodiac also supports multimedia game cards and SDIO peripherals such as the Veo Digital Camera.

Wireless: Zodiac offers two forms of local wireless connectivity. IrDA for short-range beaming and Bluetooth for multiplayer wireless gaming with a 30-foot range.

Display: Zodiac features a high-resolution (480 x 320), backlit color display that is ideal for indoor and outdoor viewing. This Half VGA display is twice the resolution of today's high-end PocketPC products and 4 times the resolution of Nokia N-Gage and GameBoy Advance.

Processors: To help power the most demanding games and multimedia applications, Zodiac uses two processors...the latest Motorola i.MX ARM9 processor and the ATI Imageon W4200 graphics accelerator with 8MB of dedicated memory.

The Tapwave Zodiac also ships with a full suite of entertainment software.

Navigation: Zodiac features a powerful radial navigation system that enables users to launch up to 64 titles or applications with two simple movements of the analog controller. Users can also use the touch-screen to drag and drop applications and customize their view.

Games: Zodiac comes bundled with two games, Stuntcar Extreme by Vasara Games and AcidSolitaire by Red Mercury to give users a small sample of Zodiac's gaming capabilities.

Music: Zodiac has a full-featured MP3 player with a rich graphical user interface that is powerful and easy to use. Creating custom play lists is as easy as dragging and dropping songs to your list. Use the music alarm clock to wake up to your favorite song.

Videos: The Kinoma Producer allows you to easily convert and load videos to your Zodiac (MPEG1, MPEG4, QuickTime, AVI and DIVX videos). With the Kinoma Player you can watch full motion videos on your Zodiac with incredible clarity.

Photos: You can share photos, create slide shows. JPEG images can be easily transferred from your PC (using the Palm Desktop Software). Images can also be loaded via SD cards.

Information Management: Zodiac features the industry-leading Palm OS productivity suite, including Date Book, Address Book, To Do List and Memo Pad, plus the powerOne Graphing Calculator, Wordsmith word processor, PalmReader e-book application, and more.

Communication/Connectivity: Connect to a compatible Bluetooth phone or Bluetooth access point to surf the Internet or send messages with the bundled web browser and SMS application.

Byron Connell, Senior VP of Marketing and Co-founder of Tapwave, is demonstrating the Tapwave Zodiac at this year's DEMOmobile Conference being held on September 17-19 at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines in La Jolla, CA.

The Tapwave Zodiac is this year's break-through in the mobile market, said Chris Shipley, Executive Producer, The DEMO Conferences. It's unique combination of robust handheld computing power and superior entertainment capabilities make Zodiac the must-have mobile entertainment console.

With the Zodiac, users will be able to game with the first-ever analog controller (joystick) found on a handheld device, listen to music using the Zodiac MP3 functionality, watch videos (AVI, MPEG 1, MPEG4, QuickTime, etc...), view photos, and manage their life, all in one light, ergo-centric package.

We are honored to be chosen as one of the demonstrators at this year's DEMOmobile Conference and plan to use this forum not only to demonstrate the product, but also show off some of the content that will run on the Zodiac at launch, said Byron Connell, Co-founder and Senior VP of Tapwave

Content Partners

Along with the Tapwave Zodiac in both configurations, will also offer a number of games that will be available when the Zodiac ships. The games can be purchased for download or on gaming cards. In addition, the website will be a resource for the Zodiac game community to post high-scores, win prizes, share information and download game demos. For developers, the website will provide software development tools and forums.

Games that are labeled tuned or certified for Zodiac are specifically optimized for the console and have passed third-party quality testing. These games must take advantage of specific features found on the Tapwave Zodiac hardware, such as the analog controller, the 480 x 320 display, Bluetooth and more, in order to be awarded with these qualifications. In addition to the games that will be tuned or certified specifically for the Zodiac, the console can also run the thousands of compatible Palm OS applications, including more than 1000 games.

You can pre-order your Zodiac at the Tapwave site, a link to which is available by following the download tab.

Some of the games that Zodiac users will see at launch are:

Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4: Take the role of legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk and 13 other athletes as they skate through enormous free roaming levels, choose from 190 progressively harder goals and build your character's skills to perform 14 of the greatest skateboarding stunts of all time.

Atari's Neverwinter Nights: A hideous evil has awoken in the Forgotten Realms. Now, in order to save the inhabitants of the town of Neverwinter you must uncover a sinister conspiracy, unmask your mysterious betrayer and complete an epic struggle to defeat the powerful forces that look to halt your quest and unleash an evil your people would surely never survive.

Midway's SpyHunter: Get behind the wheel of the G-6155 Interceptor for high-speed, mission-based racing in exotic locales, all the while being relentlessly pursued by hordes of air, ground and water enemies.

Crimson Fire

Galactic Realms: With the recent expansion into space, several factions have continued their struggle for dominance in the dark void. The United Nations has set up a council to govern and monitor the new colonies, but there are those who prefer only chaos. With the new rebel threat, the UN council has no choice but to declare war and start building their own battleships to eliminate the rebel menace. You have been selected to command the UN fleet, but the rebels will prove to be a formidable opponent, and a new unknown threat has yet to be unveiled...

Phantom Strike: After stumbling upon an ancient artifact, archeologists inadvertently open a portal to another dimension, causing them to transform into horrible beasts with incredible powers. Using a variety of martial arts, you must master the techniques of fighting these creatures to protect all of humanity, and ensure that the remaining artifacts remain safe.

Handmark's Warfare Incorporated: A breakthrough action strategy game with state-of-the-art graphics, animation, and sound effects. Control the planet Icarus, with its mineral riches and mysterious alien technologies, before your competitors.

id Software's DOOM II: This classic first-person shooter delivers fast-paced action, timeless characters and awesome firepower in one of the most widely played and critically acclaimed games ever released. Play alone or against up to 3 friends using Tapwave Zodiac's Bluetooth wireless capability.

What Content Partners Are Saying About The Tapwave Zodiac

We are excited to partner with Tapwave and look forward to showcasing some of our premiere titles on their new mobile entertainment device, says Dave Anderson, director of business development and licensing for Activision.

Sega is very excited to work with Tapwave to bring our classic Genesis titles to the Zodiac, said Tetsuji Ishii, General Manager, Mobile Business Department, Sega Corporation. The Zodiac is the first mobile gaming device powerful enough to run our Genesis titles and with its ultra-clear transflective screen gamers can enjoy their favorite Sega Genesis titles both indoors and outdoors.

Game developers have, to understate matters, been disappointed in handheld game systems to date. Their technology really limits our ability to create many categories of games, particularly those employing rich, dynamic graphics. The Tapwave platform will finally permit us to create titles more in line with the expectations of set-top console gamers, said Steve Crane, Executive Vice President of Development, Midway Games.

Duke Nukem likes to travel, said Scott Miller, CEO of 3D Realms, and now his games can, too. Commenting on Zodiac's breakthrough new analog joystick technology/mobile touch screen combo, Miller said, This adds a new dimension and makes mobile gaming easier to handle. Plus, Zodiac's excellent graphics allows Duke to display more attitude, more action, and more firepower. Carnage on the go! Come get some.

We are excited about bringing Zodiac owners some of the most exciting handheld games available from MDM's AAA content partners, says Barry Cottle, CEO of Mobile Digital Media (MDM), the largest publisher of cross-platform consumer software on industry standard SD and MultiMediaCard (MMC) cards for PDAs and mobile phones.

The Tapwave Zodiac is built to maximize the experience of roaming space, hunting down your targets, and completing your mission with a barrage of laser fire, said Kyle Poole, President of Crimson Fire. When we saw its large screen, high resolution, landscape mode, and analog controller, we knew we had found the perfect handheld console for our game, Galactic Realms -- a graphically advanced, real-time space combat game that lets you fight battles from three unique perspectives.

The Tapwave Zodiac is an amazing device, said Douglas Edwards, VP of Marketing at Handmark. The Zodiac's cool features entice developers to build break-through games that take advantage of its high resolution display, extended battery life, and analog controller. Games like the new Handmark Warfare Incorporated can now deliver a mobile experience comparable to that found on PC size game consoles.

DOOM II pioneered the first-person, multiplayer shooter experience on the PC, and now that same exciting experience is available in the palm of your hand anywhere you go, said Todd Hollenshead, CEO, id Software. Whether you want to battle the forces of Hell alone in the award-winning single player game, or go toe-to-toe with up to 3 other competitors in an intense deathmatch using the built-in Bluetooth, DOOM II on the Tapwave Zodiac is the ultimate mobile gaming experience.

Zodiac is the fastest handheld gaming device to date, says Andre Vasen, CEO of MachineWorks Northwest LLC, it's an impressive piece of engineering.

Developer Support

For developers, Tapwave offers a fully customized version of the X-Forge 3D game engine for rapid prototype and development. In conjunction with the Tapwave hardware offerings, the company will both publish games and continue to aggressively support independent game development specifically for the Tapwave platform. By keeping the platform open, building a strong developer support program, and providing a distribution channel, Tapwave will leverage the thousands of developers focused on mobile gaming and build a strong win-win business opportunity. Since announcing the company in May 2003, more than 500 game developers have signed up for the Tapwave development program and requested the Software Development Kit (SDK).