Panasonic has announced that it has a handheld gaming device in development, named the Jungle, which is to target the online gaming market.
The last time Panasonic made any gaming-specific hardware was the 3DO in 1993, which suffered from its high price point and lack of third party support.
The machine's website reveals few details at the moment, other than listing some non-specific features and announcing support for BigPoint's forthcoming browser MMO Battlestar Galactica Online.
Tech site Gizmodo posted some photographs of the device, as well as some reports from gamers who claim to have seen the machine behind closed doors at PAX last month.
The Jungle sports a rugged, clamshell design with a full keyboard. Two circular touchpads appear to sit just below the screen and USB and HDMI ports seem to be located on the front panel of the handheld. Shoulder buttons are also present.
The machine is reported to carry a very crisp high resolution screen, already leading to some speculation over the power of the hardware driving it and the subsequent impact on cost. Third party deals with network carriers and publishers are expected to absorb some of that price for the end consumer, however.
The Jungle is also reported to be running a Liunx OS, a theory supported by a number of job postings made by the Panasonic off-shoot developing it, Panasonic Cloud Entertainment.
If this is the case, it would mean that current PC games would need to undergo some conversion processes before they could be played on the system. Browser-based games, such as BSG Online, would need to undergo no such process however.