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Tri-band GSM technology for Gizmondo

Voice telephony an integral feature of Tiger's handheld redesign

Following the recent announcement of a widescreen Gizmondo which is due for release in 2006, further details have emerged regarding the inclusion of GSM voice telephony features.

The company's main focus in promoting the new device has so far centred on the 4 inch LCD TFT screen, which brings the device more in tune with Sony's PSP and is clearly designed to attract consumers in the same market. Gizmondo boss Carl Freer commented: "Widescreen will favourably compare to Sony PSP but with even more power and features."

According to a press release from Gizmondo, the redesign is part of "a multi-million dollar Research and Development project" which will see several different devices launched in the future. All Gizmondo devices will, according to the company, feature "the unique combined functionality of games, music, movies, messaging, a digital camera and GPS technology."

The current Gizmondo handheld includes MMS functionality which allows users to send and receive SMS messages from any mobile phone or other Gizmondo device. The extension of this feature to include full voice telephony and Bluetooth headset compatibility is part of the company's attempts to attract a more mature audience for the device, which is currently available in Europe and due to launch in the US in October.

A spokesperson from Gizmondo stated: "The entry-level Gizmondo at the lower price point will naturally skew towards the younger end of our demographic over time, given that texting is particularly popular with this age group. The introduction of the Widescreen model to the range means we can target older users with a more advanced piece of hardware that has the capacity to replace a standard handset, and deliver an all-encompassing feature set ranging from voice calls to web browsing and next generation gaming to satellite navigation. It's going to be a highly significant piece of entertainment communication technology and compliment the entry level device superbly."

Unlike Nokia's N-Gage device, which features an alpha-numerical keypad for telephony and SMS messaging functions, the Gizmondo has just four face buttons, similar to the Sony PSP. It is understood that telephony and SMS features will be accessed using the in-built virtual keypad found on the current version of the device.

Whilst the Gizmondo aims to feature a wealth of functions packaged in a single unit, Nokia's N-Gage appears to be taking a different route. Discussing the implementation of N-Gage as a platform on a wide range of Series 60 handsets, Gerard Wiener, director and general manager at Nokia's games business program stated in an interview with Mobile Entertainment that the company was "creating a platform for everyone. This will reach a range of phones, not just a single N-Gage device."

Gizmondo's new widescreen device with improved features and GSM voice telephony will be unveiled at January's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

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