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Panasonic cancels Jungle portable gaming device

Online handheld axed due to 'changes in the market'

Electronics giant Panasonic has confirmed that it has cancelled plans to release its handheld online gaming device, codenamed Jungle.

No explanation for the cancellation was offered, with a statement saying only that, 'Panasonic decided to suspend further development due to changes in the market and in our own strategic direction.'

The Jungle device was announced last October, to considerable puzzlement from analysts - especially given Panasonic's recent focus on environmental technology and healthcare. Nevertheless Panasonic established a new U.S. subsidiary, named Panasonic Cloud Entertainment, to develop the project.

The device was larger than a mobile phone but smaller than a laptop, with a clamshell design that featured a full keyboard, two circular touchpads and shoulder buttons. The device ran the Linux operating system and was primarily intended to run massively multiplayer online and browser-based games.

The only formally-announced title for the device though was BigPoint's massively multiplayer online title Battlestar Galactica.

Apart from announcing the recruitment of testers in December, nothing further was ever revealed about the device - which now seems likely to be quickly forgotten.

Unlike rival Sony, Panasonic has only ever dabbled in the games industry, most famously with its version of the 3DO platform in 1993 and the Japanese-only GameCube hybrid Q.

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David Jenkins