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Is it a Game Machine...or a PDA?

Boot Camp feature for Monday, March 1, 2004

Is it a game machine…or a PDA? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It runs on the Palm operating system…and includes the usual Palm applications….but the Tapwave Zodiac is designed for people who take their handheld games seriously. Tapwave co-founder Byron Connell…

"The product does operate on an enhanced version of the Palm operating system, the latest version. But it was designed for entertainment, for high performance interactive video games, for music, for photos. But since it does run on an open operating system it has the additional benefit of providing those 19 thousand applications that already exist on the Palm OS platform and a ready made large developer platform for us to create a lot of new, exciting content and titles."

There's a game controller type pad on the device…a landscape high resolution display… two SD card slots and built in Bluetooth wireless connectivity. With pricing starting at 300 dollars…Tapwave isn't necessarily going after the Game Boy crowd….

"The product was specifically designed primarily for the 18 to 34 year old age group. Today the average age of a video gamer is around 28 to 29 years old. That's who is buying the Xbox and that's who is driving the industry. And we also recognize that the typical age of a Nintendo Game Boy customer is quite a bit younger…in the 8 to 12 year old range."

Where Nintendo has the edge…at least for now…is in the huge library of games available. Tapwave sells the Zodiac online now…and expects to be in retail stores in the near future. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.