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End of the line for Zodiac as Tapwave bows out

Another company has become a casualty in the console market as Tapwave announced on its <a type="ext" href="http://www.tapwave.com/">official website</a> that it has shut down the business dealing with its Palm powered Zodiac handheld.

Another company has become a casualty in the console market as Tapwave announced on its official website that it has shut down the business dealing with its Palm powered Zodiac handheld.

In an official statement, Tapwave states: "We are sorry to inform you that the Zodiac business was discontinued and service and support are no longer available as of July 25th 2005"

It's not clear whether the firm itself, which back at the start of May said that it would be moving away from consumer sales and focusing on OEM relationships, has survived this move. A note on the website refers those with outstanding claims with the company to Ueker and Associates, a Californian liquidation specialist.

The Zodiac multimedia system was released in the US late 2003, followed by a muted UK launch late 2004 , retailing around UKP 300 before numerous discounts due to strong competition from Nintendo's much cheaper Game Boy Advance.

The Zodiac boasted PDA functions and the ability to play games from a library that included Doom and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4. While critically lauded, the handheld faced stiff opposition in the numerous shapes of the Game Boy, Nokia's phone/handheld hybrid, N-Gage, and in the US, Sony's PlayStation Portable. With a comparative lack of marketing compared to its competitors and what turned out to be a game collection of no more than 20 titles, Zodiac struggled to take a large enough part of the market from its rivals.

Tiger Telematics' similar machine, the Gizmondo, was released March 2005 in the UK and the rest of Europe this summer, to similarly muted response. It now faces the same competition as the fallen Zodiac with the added threat of Sony's PSP, which will be released in Europe September 1st at UKP 179 (249 Euro).

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Corey Brotherson

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