Tapwave Zodiac Now Debuting at Retail

The Tapwave Zodiac console, its accessories and games made their retail debut today in J&R Music World, a large consumer electronics and entertainment destination in lower Manhattan. The handheld is also now appearing in Comp USA stores thought North America as well.

Beyond purchasing the Tapwave Zodiac, J&R consumers will also be able to pick up the latest Zodiac accessories and popular Zodiac game cards, such as Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 and Midway's SpyHunter. Along with premiere titles, Tapwave is also offering 2 game packs -- Z:Pak: Adventure, which will include Galactic Realms and Legacy; and the Z:Pak: Fun featuring Paintball, MegaBowling and Kickoo's Breakout. In a few weeks, id Software's DOOM II and 3D Realms/MachineWorks Northwest's Duke Nukem Mobile will also be joining other Zodiac games on the retail shelf.

The Zodiac accessories available today include the Zodiac Sport Case, Zodiac Cradle and a Zodiac Stylus 3-pack. Other accessories for the Zodiac will also be available in the coming weeks. These include a Zodiac Deluxe Leather Case and the Zodiac Universal Travel Kit.

In addition to launching at retail, this year Tapwave expects to offer a total of 60 to 75 Tapwave Certified titles, such as Tiger Team: Apache vs Hind (helicopter combat game), Orbz (action arcade) and Acedior (RPG). Some of the Zodiac premiere titles for this year will include 3D Realms/MachineWorks Northwest's Duke Nukem Mobile, Activision's MTX: Mototrax and Street Hoops, Eidos' Tomb Raider and Atari's Neverwinter Nights. Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 just released in March, and id Software's DOOM II recently launched in May.

The new retail model comes with the latest Zodiac 1.1 software suite. The console is offered in two models -- the Zodiac(1) for $299 (32MB RAM) and the Zodiac(2) for $399 (128MB RAM) and is available from Tapwave.com. The units run Palm OS 5.2T and features a 3.8 inch diagonal 480 x 320 pixel screen, analog joystick navigation with integrated triggers and buttons, stereo sound and Bluetooth for multiplayer wireless gaming. It has two SD expansion slots and runs a 200mhz i.MX1 Motorola ARM9 Processor, and has a ATI Imageon W4200 graphics accelerator (with 8MB dedicated SDRAM).

Thanks to Scott for the tip.

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MANY more 1st quality games are needed!

hkklife @ 6/21/2004 2:16:29 PM #
I still have yet to see a Zodiac in person. With my T3 dying before my very eyes and my GBA collecting major dust, this might make an interesting upgrade.

However, everything I've read indicates that the few titles are merely warmed-over GB & Palm ports. Since Tapwave is having a hard time drumming up developer support, I would suggest them bundling titles onto MMC for the retail market. There's no reason that you couldn't shoehorn, say, Wolfenstein 3d & Doom II onto a single card or have Duke Nukem & Spy Hunter on another card. Tapwave could then go with the dual approach of it being a "2-in-1" entertainment & productivity machine as well as all software titles available at retail being "2-in-1" as well. Look at the success in the PC market with companies like EA & Activision constantly bundling old titles into "four games for $20" packages. MDM & Handmark do the same thing with most of their entertainment titles on MMC. It'd also be nice to see dual platform software cards at retail-Palm & Zodiac-enhanced versions on a single card.

Supposedly the in-store displays provided by Tapwave at J&R and most of the larger CompUSA stores are very impressive. Has anyone seem a Zodiac in their local CUSA yet?

RE: MANY more 1st quality games are needed!
Scott R @ 6/21/2004 3:00:33 PM #
That's what they are doing, but not with their "big" titles like SpyHunter and Duke Nukem. They're bundling a few of the "lesser" games together.

For example, you can get their "Adventure Pack" with Legacy and Galactic Realms: Into The Void or the "Fun Pack" with Kickoo's Breakout, MegaBowling, and PaintBall for $29.99.

FYI, the devices actually hit J&R's retail store last Thursday. They were supposed to hit CompUSA this Thursday (the 24th), but CompUSA.com mentions a 6/28 date, so it's possible that the date has slipped by a few days. I guess we'll see. Also, there are some imaages on my site of the special in-store display they'll be using.


- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: MANY more 1st quality games are needed!
hkklife @ 6/21/2004 3:17:00 PM #
Wow, all great marketing minds really do think alike

I'll go and check out the shots of those displays. Any word on a possible price drop for either Zodiac in the coming months; that is, in time for back to school sales/early Christmas shopping?

RE: MANY more 1st quality games are needed!
Palmheld @ 6/21/2004 3:37:27 PM #
While I agree that more games are better than less, the Zodiac "enhanced" games already available are really quite stunning. It's a bummer demos can't be obtained for most, but they really deliver outstanding quality.

I obtained a Zodiac/2 about 5 or 6 months ago for testing purposes and have collected a short list of games since then. [They include Stuntcar Extreme (included with the Z/2), Daedalus 3D, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, Warfare Incorporated and Syphunter). These have killer graphics, excellent sound quality, make great use of the Zod's controller buttons and offer superior mobile play-ability. Want more good news? Battery life is suprisingly long lasting.

Oh yeah, while bigger than my Tungsten|T3 (my primary device) it makes an excellent Palm organizer, too.

Last thought. While testing has completed, playing has not. ;-)

- Well, it's doing something...

Is there a Good Web Browser for the Zodiac

kpr @ 6/21/2004 2:43:18 PM #
Is there a good web browser for the Zodiac that is similar or better than Web Pro 3.0.1 or 3.5 for the Tungsten T3 where you do not have to scroll right and left, but can still have a large sized font???

Is there a good email program for the Zodiac that is similar or better than VersaMail?

RE: Is there a Good Web Browser for the Zodiac
Scott R @ 6/21/2004 3:06:59 PM #
From a pure speed perspective, I would recommend either Blazer 2.0 or the ReqWireless WebViewer Java app. Neither will support the Zodiac's 480x320 mode, though. I and several others are desperately waiting/hoping for a better browser to come around.

For an email app, I like SnapperMail.


- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: Is there a Good Web Browser for the Zodiac
dona83 @ 6/21/2004 3:21:42 PM #
Wenpro 3 is as good as you're going to get, you might be able to find it somewhere on the web.

Ditto with Versa Mail, it's the most powerful, versatile, yet easy to use mail program I've ever used. Version 2.5 is available for $35USD.

RE: Is there a Good Web Browser for the Zodiac
kpr @ 6/21/2004 4:24:55 PM #
But I thought Web Pro 3 does not run on the Zodiac.

Is this correct?

RE: Is there a Good Web Browser for the Zodiac
bcombee @ 6/21/2004 6:51:56 PM #
PalmSource Web Browser 2.0 is included with the Zodiac on the CD -- this is the same browser that ships with the PalmOne Tungsten C, but updated for the landscape screen.

Ben Combee
http://palmos.combee.net - PDA programmer weblog
RE: Is there a Good Web Browser for the Zodiac
Scott R @ 6/21/2004 9:14:14 PM #
IIRC, Web Pro 3 will "barely" work, but it's quite buggy. As Ben said, the browser that comes bundles is the one that PalmSource owns, but it's tweaked for the 480x320 screen and supports some of the extra buttons. Sounds good, right? Well it's not. The browser is horribly, horribly slow (sometimes completely stalling) and it won't squeeze-to-fit non-mobile-friendly sites.

The Palm OS world desperately needs a really great non-PDA-specific browser with tabbed browsing and other features.


- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

We need to bring OPERA to PalmOS.
;-o @ 6/22/2004 12:19:59 AM #
Conspiracy theorists all "know" why Opera hasn't been brought out for PalmOS. B@st@rds!

RE: Is there a Good Web Browser for the Zodiac
XBOT90 @ 6/22/2004 2:38:42 PM #
MailWave is a good email program to try as well.

It supports the landscape and portrait modes of the Zodiac. They just put a new release out for file downloading and sd card support.




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