Tapwave Reaches the UK, Singapore and S Korea

Since launching the awarding-winning Zodiac multimedia handheld in the U.S., international demand has been high. In response, Tapwave recently formed partnerships with well-established companies in three major global markets to bring the Zodiac to local store shelves and online abroad.

In the UK, Tapwave has an exclusive partnership with the Dixons Group, who is selling the Zodiac through PC World, Dixons, Dixons Tax Free Stores, and Currys. In Singapore, Tapwave named ECS Holdings, LTD., as their exclusive distributor. ECS Holdings is a well-established local Singapore distributor who carries and promotes leading consumer electronic products including Apple and Hewlett Packard. In Korea, Tapwave is partnering with Sonokong, who is co-branding the Zodiac and promoting it through retail and online distribution.

"With our new partners, we can now fulfill demand in these key international markets...and we are not stopping there," said Byron Connell, co-founder of Tapwave. "In the months ahead, the company will continue to evaluate new opportunities and expand distribution into other markets."

The Tapwave Zodiac offers a high-resolution (480x320) 3.8-inch color display, Yamaha audio with stereo speakers and vibration effects. With integrated Bluetooth and infrared wireless technologies, the Zodiac can also be used in conjunction with a compatible mobile phone with data services to browse the Internet and manage email. The Zodiac can be operated in landscape or portrait mode, allowing Word documents, email or family pictures to be viewed in the orientation that best suits them. The Zodiac also features high-capacity rechargeable lithium batteries for extended use, a touch-screen for direct interaction and text input, and the first ever analog controller with 360 degree of motion in a handheld product.

While the powerful Freescale ARM9 processor and integrated ATI graphics accelerator are the same in both models, the Zodiac 1 and Zodiac 2 come with 32MB and 128MB of memory respectively. Each can be expanded by slotting in SD cards in the handhelds two expansion ports, offering up to 2GB of additional storage.

In addition to the Zodiac multimedia handheld, consumers in these markets can also pick up the latest Zodiac accessories and popular Zodiac game cards. A few of the over 40 Tapwave Certified titles include: id Software's DOOM II, 3D Realms/MachineWorks Northwest's Duke Nukem Mobile, Activision's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 and Midway's SpyHunter, Tiger Team: Apache vs Hind and GTS Racing Challenge. Along with premiere titles, Tapwave is also offering two game packs - Z:Pak: Adventure, which will include Galactic Realms and Legacy; and the Z:Pak: Fun featuring Paintball, MegaBowling and Kickoo's Breakout. Zodiac accessories available at retail will include the Zodiac Sport Case, Zodiac Cradle, a Zodiac Stylus 3-pack and the Zodiac Deluxe Leather Case.

Other announced games for the Zodiac platform include Madden NFL 2005 (Electronic Arts), Neverwinter Nights (Atari), Street Hoops (Activision), Motrax MTX (Activision), Tomb Raider (Eidos) and Hockey Rage 2005 (Fathammer).

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Business opportunity

LiveFaith @ 11/17/2004 1:11:37 PM #
Dear Tapwave,
Are you interested in tapping the power user market with Palm OS if PalmOne abandons it? A business handheld with Z2 specs would already be strong.

Pat Horne; www.churchoflivingfaith.com
RE: Business opportunity
hkklife @ 11/17/2004 2:21:17 PM #
Is there anyone out there who has even the slightest idea (CUSA employee perhaps?) of how well the Zodiac is doing at retail?

I think that a smaller unit based on the specs of the Zodiac 1 would be a natural step forward, along with a Cobalt-based Zodiac next spring or summer.

Right now my main quibbles with the Zod are all formfactor and software-related (no good web browser, lack of peripherals etc) more so than the specs of the unit.

IMHO the Zods still have the best "normal" memory configuration available on a POS device (2 SD slots with one being SDIO, 128mb of fast ram, no "drive mode" oddities).

RE: Business opportunity
mikecane @ 11/17/2004 7:23:26 PM #
Puhleeze. At one CUSA here in NYC, the demo Z apparently broke, so they removed it. And the salesdope I asked about it over the weekend said he didn't even know if they had them in!

RE: Business opportunity
twrock @ 11/17/2004 7:25:13 PM #
[quote]A business handheld with Z2 specs would already be strong.[/quote]
Yes, it would be like the rebirth of HandEra. Please, pretty please.... And with two SD slots, even the Z1 specs are fine.

Re: formfactor, I don't know if Tapwave is ready for this, but the rest of the specs are right up there. Right now, Zod's are just too big (imagine a Zod at 4.5x3.0x0.5). Swap out some of the gaming specific features and replace them with wifi, keep the same price tag, and you've got the machine many people are begging for! And please keep the TWO card slots.

Oh, and one more thing I almost forgot, Graffiti ONE, at least as an option.

RE: Business opportunity
Hal2000 @ 11/17/2004 7:39:20 PM #
Mike, trust me, they don't break easily. In my jacket it smashes against mini containers daily, not one problem after one year of nyc construction torture tests. The one you saw was vandalized.

Size Matters: If it was any smaller, it would hurt to play games for hours.

2.128 gigs under the hood.

RE: Business opportunity
ptc @ 11/18/2004 11:09:29 PM #
Now that the T5 has been released and the specs are nothing great, I hope Tapwave is getting some additional business.

Tapwave wish list for next spring: same form factor, OLED display, OS 6

RE: Business opportunity
JonAcheson @ 11/19/2004 2:32:58 PM #
My dream for Tapwave would be to put in a flip-up screen, and a thumb-board where the screen is now. If it's a really good dream, make that an OLED screen.

A rugged device with a thumbboard would make my day. I miss my Treo 90, but it was too fragile to buy another one at the current price.

"All opinions posted are my own, and not those of my employers, who are appalled."

UK + Dixons

ardiri @ 11/17/2004 2:19:05 PM #
this is probably one of the worst partners that Tapwave could team up with - especially from a customers point of view. Dixons are known for very high pricing. to give you an example:


299.99 USD (Zodiac 1)
399.99 USD (Zodiac 2)


269.99 pounds (Zodiac 1)
329.99 pounds (Zodiac 2)

269.99 pounds = 500.129 USD
329.99 pounds = 740.941 USD (www.oanda.com)



525.00 SGD (Zodiac 1)
699.00 SGD (Zodiac 2)

525.00 SGD = 318.278 USD
699.00 SGD = 423.765 USD (www.oanda.com)

as you can see, the singapore prices are not that bad - considering the lowering USD. however, if you take a look at the people in england who are going to go to dixons? is it really worth it?

if you are in the UK and want to buy a zodiac, go here:


199.99 pounds (Zodiac 1)
249.99 pounds (Zodiac 2)

199.99 pounds = 370.461 USD
249.99 pounds = 463.081 USD

these are still a little high - but, a lot better than buying it from dixons. i believe gbax.com buy them from the USA and sell them locally within the UK - however, they are in limited supply.

Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer

RE: UK + Dixons
ardiri @ 11/17/2004 2:28:15 PM #
BTW: the UK has 17.5% VAT

269.99 pounds = 500.129 USD
329.99 pounds = 740.941 USD (www.oanda.com)

without VAT (if you are a business purchaser)

500.129 before VAT = 425.64 USD
740.941 before VAT = 630.58

still very inflated prices. the non-VAT prices should be around the same as what tapwave sells them for in the USA - there is no justification for having such a HUGE mark-up on prices.

299.99 -> 425.64 = 42% more expensive
399.99 -> 630.58 = 57% more expensive

even if you purchase from the USA and import (and, pay the taxes coming in), you'll get a much better price. now, when will the tapwave store start accepting non USA based credit cards? :) i know a bunch of people have had problems purchasing games from their website as well due to this reason.

Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer

RE: UK + Dixons
JonathanChoo @ 11/17/2004 4:03:38 PM #
Dixons is the worst kind of any retailer there is in the UK, bad practices, rude staffs (in general) and probably have an active policy of deceiving its customers. They once tried to sell my girlfriend a Palm Tungsten as a Tungsten T3.

Want to know what they charge for a HP hx4700? 449.00. That is US$835. The palmOne T5 retails there for US$611. When I got my h4150 for 240 from a UK online retailer in March, Dixons was still selling them for 400 despite the US dollar crash which prompted other retailers to cut price.

On the subject of Zodiac, not many people are buying them in the UK high street. Too big and no retail games on the shelves.

RE: UK + Dixons
Edward Green @ 11/17/2004 4:08:21 PM #
Over inflated PDA prices is one reason that I use Smartphones which are much cheaper here (although we pay through the nose on our contracts). My Treo 600 was 100 at release. That is about $180 I think.

Also smartphones are cheaper to insure. Dropped my Treo 600 the other day and just got a brand new one back

Edward Green

RE: UK + Dixons
chicken_tandoori @ 11/17/2004 7:50:39 PM #
I'm not sure why the Zodiac mention is much more expensive in the UK, but a guess would be of taxes on American products. I remembered the times when I was living in the UK, prices for American goods (for me would be clothes and shoes) are very expensive in the UK. Remembered getting a GAP jeans for GBP35! It's just GAP for crying out loud, and acording to an American friend of mine, says that IS expensive.

BTW, if you are buying electronic products along Tottenham C R, be aware. They all cheat - not just Dixons.

RE: UK + Dixons
ardiri @ 11/18/2004 4:20:43 AM #
    I'm not sure why the Zodiac mention is much more expensive in the UK, but a guess would be of taxes on American products.

when you import products from overseas, there is an import tax which is normally equivalent to the normal VAT you pay in the country you reside in. this would be 17.5% in UK.

the issue here is that the prices have been inflated +50% even when taking into account the VAT (17.5%). its like buying stuff from USA shipping it to UK and then adding an extra 50% because you feel like it. if tapwave wants to argue that there is additional VAT and margins; i have never seen a retailer take over 50% extra as a margin on hardware. 10% maybe. realistically, the prices should be:

$299.99 + 10% + VAT (17.5) = $387.73 USD

thats including taxes and margins. instead,

269.99 pounds (Zodiac 1)
269.99 pounds = 500.129 USD

see how they are getting an extra $120 USD out of you for no apparent reason - if you are planning on buying a zodiac, do not do it from dixons. even the singapore prices are realistic.

Aaron Ardiri
PalmOS Certified Developer

RE: UK + Dixons
bcombee @ 11/18/2004 1:40:39 PM #
Well, you're also paying for the work of translating the user interface into the local language :)

(yes, I know it's English... this is more of a dig on Americans than anything else)

Ben Combee
http://palmos.combee.net - PDA programmer weblog

This is expansion?

MTM @ 11/19/2004 12:51:37 PM #
So...if you wanted to increase sales, wouldn't it make sense to choose the USA's largest trading partner? I thought you would agree. Now, who would that be? Certainly not Singapore. Not Korea. Nope, not the UK.

It's li'l 'ol Canada. By a long shot.

But whatever you do, Tapwave, don't go with a proven winner. No sir. No way. Set up silly partnerships with questionable distributors in far away places first. Make all your international mistakes overseas where they are really hard to fix. ...And continue to take only USA credit cards at your store. Good, solid plan, Tapwave.


PS Yes, as a matter of fact I have pointed this out to Tapwave. They couldn't care less, apparently.



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