The latest entry to the handheld console market, Gizmondo, is set to launch on October 29th - with the UK leading the rest of the world, where the powerful games, multimedia and communication device will roll out during 2005.
The Gizmondo system, which made its public debut at the Game Stars Live consumer show in London earlier this month, features a range of entertainment and communications features along with its game-playing abilities.
The console has movie and music playback functions, can link in to the phone networks for SMS and MMS communications, features a high resolution digital camera and, in a world first for a games console, has GPS navigation functions.
Gizmondo, which is a subsidiary of US firm Tiger Telematics, intends to use the GPS (Global Positioning System) system to offer unique location-based gameplay in some of the titles for the system, as well as allowing users access to basic GPS functions.
"Everything's gone according to schedule and now we can enjoy the fruition of our hard work," according to Gizmondo Europe's CTO, Steve Carroll. "I'm very proud that the world is now able to enjoy our leading engineering and entrepreneurship. It's going to be fun out there."
"We believe that the Gizmondo is one of the most powerful handheld devices that will be on the market in the UK," Carroll continued. "It is loaded with different options, and depending on what you would like to do, the Gizmondo has got it."
"Our intention is to bring our device to markets worldwide," confirmed Carl Freer, managing director at Gizmondo Europe. "The launch and arrival of Gizmondo starting in the UK signifies a new era in portable entertainment."
"The timing also means that the highly anticipated multi-entertainer will be available in time for the Christmas trade," he explained. "And positions us well ahead of our nearest competitors."
The pre-Christmas launch does indeed give Gizmondo a significant headstart on the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP consoles, neither of which will arrive in Europe until 2005. As such, the only new competition that the console will face will be from Tapwave's Zodiac handheld, which is based on the Palm operating system and also launches in the UK in the coming months.