Is failed handheld games console Gizmondo set for a dramatic return to the shelves? Originally launched in 2005, the handheld lasted less than a year before the company behind it filed for bankruptcy amid allegations of embezzlement, corruption and links to the criminal underworld
The second coming of Gizmondo is unlikely to produce quite the same soap opera produced by the first though, despite the presence of Gizmondo founder Carl Freer in the new venture. This time around, Freer is determined that the device he originally helped to develop should be the main story, rather than the people selling and marketing it.
"I would like to bring our product to the market so that those who invested in me will get some of their money back. I feel like have an unfinished business," Freer recently told a Swedish business journal.
The new model will be overseen by Cambridge-based UK electronics design firm Plextek which will work alongside Freer to develop the new model. Plextek has since confirmed its part in the handheld's resurrection with the Eurogamer.com site so it looks like all systems are go.
There's no word on price yet, nor are there any concrete dates for its delivery to market. But in his interview Freer alluded to a deal he's reportedly struck with a Chinese manufacturing plant to make the device for free in return for sole Chinese distribution rights, alongside another potential deal with a mobile telephone company to provide the device for free.
The original Gizmondo differed from other handhelds in that it incorporated GPS technology, meaning it could also be used as an in-car satnav device. It also boasted GPRS technology to allow users to send and receive SMS text messages and email, and to accommodate multiplayer gaming. The original Gizmondo could also play MP3 files, MPEG-4 videos and sported a rather poor-quality camera on the back.
Gizmondo vs Nintendo DS
It'll be interesting to see what features the new incarnation builds upon and which it discards. With Nintendo's DS offering wireless gaming and chat features and Sony's PSP offering both basic web browsing and GPS functions, the new Gizmondo is clearly going to have to offer a lot more than just basic web browsing if it is to stand any chance at all of competing.
One area where the new model will differ from its predecessor is that it'll support open-source. Freer hopes this will help to stimulate the development of new titles. "As Gizmondo runs on Windrows CE, both amateurs and pros can join in and develop everything from simple games to complex games that fully use Gizmondo's technical capacity with its 3D-graphics."
"We are also going to bring out an easy-to-use program that allows kids that don't have any experience at all to create their own games on a PC, save them to an SD-card and play them on their Gizmondo. I think many teenagers will love this concept," he said.