Comments on: TapWave to Intro Helix, Game Focused Handheld

Two new reports have shed more info on the devices expected to be announced by TapWave soon. The company is developing a Palm OS, gaming focused handheld to take on the Gameboy.

Update: Tapwave has been announced as a PalmSource liscensee.

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The cat is out of the closet...

peitron @ 5/5/2003 6:01:11 PM #
My wife always said that my Palms were just covert GameBoys for grown-up kids. I guess that the line "No honey, this is a corporate tool that increases my efficiency" ain't gonna cut it no more.

"Why should I care about posterity? What's posterity ever done for me?" - Groucho Marx
RE: The cat is out of the closet...
ardee @ 5/5/2003 6:39:57 PM #
It's two ... two ... TWO devices in one!

It's both a serious organizer and a game machine!

Shimmer is both a floorwax AND a dessert topping! (Old SNL reference.)

Light is both waves AND particles!


abosco @ 5/5/2003 6:21:31 PM #
Could this mean NOW developers will give a serious look to Palm OS for 3D games development? All Palm OS handhelds may benefit from TapWave's work.

It seems TapWave is sort of like HandSpring... but better.

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RE: Nice
arielb @ 5/5/2003 8:15:27 PM #
the Reuters article says that ATI, Sony, Motorola and Yamaha are contributing products and that Activision, Infogrames and Midway are licensing their games for the platform. This is a big deal!

RE: Nice
abosco @ 5/5/2003 8:53:48 PM #
HOLY SHI.... Midway??? Wow, imagine Mortal Kombat on a Palm. That'd be nice.

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RE: Nice
mikecane @ 5/5/2003 9:11:14 PM #
Even better would be TEXTMAKER!

(I had to drop in a productivity app to aggravate you gamers -- us old folk can't use games...)

RE: Nice
MV-Jon @ 5/5/2003 9:31:29 PM #
Dare I say, Civilization 3? :)

Jon Niola
Media Vortex, Inc.


digilaw @ 5/5/2003 6:42:47 PM #
A great concept and comment on the versitility of the palm OS. I hope this kind of innovation is justt beginning.

RE: Bravo
arielb @ 5/5/2003 8:09:16 PM #
this is EXACTLY the kind of PalmOS device that will push the market. I am very excited about this. Sorry Fossil but games beat watches anytime.

Will change the market...

anonuser @ 5/5/2003 7:39:58 PM #
OS 5
320x480 screen, rotateable
aluminum shell
built in camera (on high end model)
64k colors?
All for $199 or $299!
RE: Will change the market...
AmrMan0628 @ 5/5/2003 8:23:58 PM #
I think it will. Don't take this from just this one new device coming out. This is only a first for PDA gamers. What about next generation palm gaming PDA's. I'm sure PPC gaming devices are going to come out too, maybe even with a mobile edition of a geforce or ATI (man i would get a kick out of that) Oh well... yah, it will definitely have an impact on the PDA and mobile gaming market.

-Come with an open mind
RE: Will change the market...
mikecane @ 5/5/2003 8:31:32 PM #
>Dual SDIO
>OS 5
>320x480 screen, rotateable
>aluminum shell
>built in camera (on high end model)
>64k colors?
>All for $199 or $299!

-- WTF?! Are these specs for REAL?! Can't be!

RE: Will change the market...
new505user @ 5/5/2003 8:31:52 PM #
Where did you find the specs? Any pictures available?

RE: Will change the market...
MV-Jon @ 5/5/2003 9:34:27 PM #
These specs can't be for real!?!

If they had all those features for that price, it would kill off all the rest of the PalmOS licensees.

Jon Niola
Media Vortex, Inc.

RE: Will change the market...
BlueAnon @ 5/5/2003 10:00:36 PM #
He didn't say what CPU and how much ROM RAM did he?

it could be PXA262 for all we know, which is really what cellphone use. It has integrated ROM, with very little RAM (16mb or so) they can get away with such price.

but I seriously doubt it will give screaming 3D engine, no matter how they spin it. It'll be slower than GBA.

RE: Will change the market...
Timothy Rapson @ 5/5/2003 10:30:02 PM #
An Intel chip with the Ram on top (as BlueAnon supposes) would have some real cost advantages, but the article says ATI, that means a graphics chip...Sony, that means a color screen (though I would not bet on anything like 320 by 480. I would bet on 200 by 160 or something even stupider), Motorola means that the Moto ARM implementation finally gets a foot in the market. This chip supports SD and CF and a bunch more right on the chip and would probably be sold cheap to get Moto a entre, Yamaha means a sound chip to do MP3s and stereo game sound.

All in all it sounds like a competitor to the New Neo Geo (I don't recall the real name of the ARM competitor to the GameBoy Advance that is going nowhere fast.) I suppose if it gets some really good games, still runs real Palm stuff, and cost less than $200 it might go somewhere. I wonder how a touch screen would work on a straightup game system. How long would such a screen last?

Anyway, it will be interesting to watch. The Palm site ads for the Zire look so much like those for the original Window CE, I wonder if they were from the same ad company. Games, Movies, Ebooks, and MP3s all in your pocket. The original CE ads even added up the cost of an organizer, Gameboy, Ebook reader, and MP3 player and claimed the CE models were worth like $750! Now, we have all the same on the "simple" OS. Plus 4 models with cameras built in! What a development.

RE: Will change the market...
Scott R @ 5/5/2003 10:40:46 PM #
Not sure about some of those specs, but some are certainly true. Check it out here:

So, 480x320 rotatable (sp?) and Bluetooth are definitely true. Given that it's a gaming system (see my razor/razorblade post below), the sub-$300 price certainly seems possible. If this is half as good as it's shaping up to be, this really could be the killer product that cuts deeply into other Palm OS licensees and possibly kills the PPC market altogether (and this is not a prediction I've ever made, AFAIK).


RE: Will change the market...
Scott R @ 5/5/2003 10:44:40 PM #
"though I would not bet on anything like 320 by 480. I would bet on 200 by 160 or something even stupider"

Check out their spec page that I just posted. It says 320x480, alright. This is shaping up to be an exciting year after all.


Tapwave via Goog

mikecane @ 5/5/2003 8:53:35 PM #

-- 10K statement for *Novatel Wireless*

-- which does NOT allow copying ^%#$@#@! See pg 1 for Mr. Kim's background. Dauphin!

Razors and razorblades

Scott R @ 5/5/2003 10:15:31 PM #
When the rumors of the sub-$100 Palm were coming out, I predicted that if Palm was smart it would still have an SD slot because this is an extra source of revenue for them (a lot of people would buy Palm-branded SD games, software, and even blank cards because they don't know any better). Well, they didn't know any better apparently. This device here looks to follow this idea using what every game system company already knows to be true: You make money on the razorblades, not the razors. This could be good news for us consumers, too, because I anticipate that this device could be priced nicely.


Tapwave Gaming Platform

T2 @ 5/5/2003 10:36:47 PM #
These are the real specs for their gaming device:

Next-generation entertainment platform that
combines the best features of the Palm OS 5 with
advanced gaming and entertainment features:

- High-resolution 480 x 320 pixel screen, with portrait
or landscape-mode display
- i.MX1 Motorola ARM9 Processor
- Analog controller, integrated triggers and action
- less than 6 ounces
- Fathammer X-Forge 3D Game Engine
- ATI Imageon graphics accelerator
- Yamaha audio component, stereo speakers and earbud-
style headphones
- Dual lithium batteries
- Rumble effects
- Full-featured digital music player
- Bluetooth networking for multiplayer wireless gaming

RE: Tapwave Gaming Platform
BlueAnon @ 5/5/2003 10:57:15 PM #
I'll salute the spec above under $499.

RE: Tapwave Gaming Platform
Edward Green @ 5/6/2003 1:51:51 AM #
Yep straight from the horses mouth

The Imageon 2d graphics chip has been used on Toshiba's high end PPC's.

It offers MPEG 4 playback at 30 fps, the standard version only offers internal SRAM of 384kb which I hope is enouch for the 300k 320x480 screen; alhough it can use up to 8mb of SDRAM to support up to 640x480 it seems.

Edward Green

it may find a nice little niche in the palm OS market...

scaught @ 5/5/2003 10:42:05 PM #
but it will not succeed in "taking on" the gameboy advance. it wont even come close. it wont even be a speck on the radar. there has ALWAYS been a better device than whatever "gameboy" was the most current.

back around the time of the original gameboy and gameboy pocket, there was the atari lynx and turbo grafx16 portable. both had color screens, better processors and sound, etc, and they both went down for the count, fast.

RE: it may find a nice little niche in the palm OS market...
rsc1000 @ 5/5/2003 11:06:59 PM #
>>but it will not succeed in "taking on" the gameboy advance.

Yeah - and nobody will unseat the Atari 2600! Seriously - Atari owned the home console for years, and then Nintendo came along. Nintendo basically owned the game console market for over a decade - but guess what? They don't anymore (Playstation 2 & X-box have taken care of that). These aren't PCs we're talking about - the corporate 'enterprise' doesn't have untold billions of IT money tied into a particular gaming OS to run their database servers - these are game machines. Nothings forever. Palm, Midway, Activision, Sega (not to mention ATI & Motorola on the harware supplier side of things) - these are all big names with a big stake in seeing this happen.

RE: it may find a nice little niche in the palm OS market...
rsc1000 @ 5/5/2003 11:06:59 PM #
>>PS2 wins not because of the hardware spec or the OS, but the availability of games.

yer right - but one of the reasons to go with Palm OS is that there are already hundreds (probably thousands) of games already for the platform. Most of these are crap of course, but thats because they are mostly pre-OS 5. This is already changing so that by the time the Tapwave device is released later this year you will probably have over a hundred half-decent games that either take advantage of, or are optimized for OS 5 (not counting the developer partnerships Tapwave announced with Activision, Midway & infogrames). That really helps a mobile game platform in a way that the Gameboys previous competition never had. Add to that the mobile multi-media/computer factor (mp3s, video, photo apps out of the box), and the ability to do bluetooth multi-player, and this thing has some pretty solid stuff going for it.

RE: it may find a nice little niche in the palm OS market...
wookie @ 5/5/2003 11:40:35 PM #
PS2 wins not because of the hardware spec or the OS, but the availability of games. This is also the reason why I predict it won't unseat GBA. But it may turn out to be a great handheld in the Palm OS circle.

Best Regards,

RE: it may find a nice little niche in the palm OS market...
Mandroid @ 5/6/2003 1:43:07 AM #
I'll believe it when I see it. The Nintendo Gameboy family has been an incredible success since its introduction, and its continued dominance does not seem to reflect the conditions that have allowed various players to be dominant in normal consoles. The gameboy has faced a ton of competition (Sega GameGear, TurboGrafix Express, NeoGeo Pocket, Atari Lynx, etc. etc. etc.) but for various reasons they have at best created niche audiences, but certainly not taken much away from the Gameboy. And it really does all come down to the software library..... the specs of this sound great, but it needs actual good games. And yes, those are some nice names (Sega, Activision, Midway) but other handhelds have had big name companies behind the software and it hasn't always translated to a great software library.

Marketing will be everything
Miss Clie @ 5/6/2003 9:31:20 AM #
Tapwave is going to have to compete on a marketing level w/GBA and position this device and the games as cooler and more cutting edge.

The games market is a restless and fickle one, always looking for the coolest and edgiest stuff. I hope that Tapwave has the marketing budget for this, or otherwise it's going to be putting out stuff that languishes on the Palm software shelves in retail stores just like the rest do.

- Miss Clie

RE: price will be everything
kevdo @ 5/6/2003 10:23:02 AM #
Don't think for a second that price isn't the most important thing for this device.

Sell it for $499 and it may do okay.
Sell it for $199 and you won't be able to make them fast enough.

My guess: $299 initially.

Game titles and marketing them would be second in importance. OEMing this for Sony would make a lot of sense and would give this a fighting chance in the marketplace too.

-Kevin Crossman

RE: it may find a nice little niche in the palm OS market...
enjolras @ 5/6/2003 1:35:41 PM #
They aren't really trying to take on the GBA. They are squarely aiming this at the post-GBA crowd. The people who look on the GBA as a toy. This crowd certainly wants mobile gaming, they just want it packaged in a more acceptable fashion.. This device should do just that.

RE: it may find a nice little niche in the palm OS market...
M3wThr33 @ 5/7/2003 3:06:44 PM #
You are a fool if you think the XBox sells more than the GameCube.
Nintendo is just fine where it is, and is only going up from here on out.
Last month the top 3 selling games in the USA were Zelda and both pokemon's. Worldwide, the Cube is outselling the XBox by a cool 1.5 MILLION. Not to mention of course, amongst all of this, Nintendo is still making a large profit, while the XBox is a $1.75 Billion SINKHOLE. The only video game publisher making more money than Nintendo is EA(Not Sony's PS2 or MS's Home entertainment division). Next time get some numbers and facts before you just base it on public banter.

And in a try to make this not off-topic...
Anything that this company designs will end up better than the N-Gage. The biggest hurdle will be the price-point ratio against launch-title games. If people can't get a good INITIAL reaction to it, it has no hope.

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.

Fathammer X-Forge 3D Game Engine

rsc1000 @ 5/5/2003 11:20:30 PM #
So - what i want to know is this: the Fathammer engine has already been developed to work with Palm OS 5 (or greater), so is this a 'special version' of Fathammer, or will games developed for TapWave also be able to run on other Palm OS 5 devices (provided they've got the power)?

You can check out the Fathammer engine info at :

I believe i checked this site a few weeks/months ago and it mentioned Palm OS back then - but so far no Palm games use it. I have been waiting patiently since i got my T|T to see some games that take REAL advantage of OS 5 devices - so i am hoping this all bodes well for the future of Palm gaming in general.

RE: Fathammer X-Forge 3D Game Engine
crimsonfire @ 5/9/2003 1:52:41 AM #
Crimson Fire is the first company to be granted an X-Forge license for TapWave. We were able to develop a 3d demo space game in under 2 weeks using the new 3d engine, and the game was shown off at their private launch party. BUT they are being top secret about the device to generate buzz. All I can say is that you will see some AAA licensed titles with PS1 quality gaming coming soon... Exactly what we were waiting for, n-Gage is a total brick compared to this new device!

Some pictures from Tapwave User Group

anchung @ 8/14/2003 4:18:41 PM #


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