Tapwave Coming to US Retail Stores

Tapwave has announced that the Zodiac handhelds and games will soon be available at CompUSA retail stores nationwide in June. Tapwave also announced a host of new titles coming to the platform by years end.

In addition to launching at retail, Tapwave will release up to 10 new premiere titles by the end of the year, along with 60 to 75 Tapwave Certified or Tuned titles, such as MicroQuad (arcade/racing game), Hellfire: Apache vs. Hind (helicopter combat game), Orbz (action arcade) and Acedior (RPG). Some of the Zodiac premiere titles for this year will include Activision's Moto 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 DOOM II and Duke Nukem: Mobile Mayhem will be launching in the next few weeks.

"Support for the Tapwave Zodiac among well-established game publishers and developers continues to rapidly grow," said Byron Connell, co-founder of Tapwave. "We're excited and encouraged by the new opportunities that are continually opening up for this platform. This holiday season, the Zodiac will be available in retail outlets nationwide alongside new titles to show off the systems gaming power and multi-entertainment functionality."

To ensure the continued success of the Zodiac, Tapwave is partnering with leading game publishers to bring other well-known premiere titles to Zodiac console users. Since launch, Tapwave has penned deals with leading titles from Activision, id, Eidos, Atari, Midway, Apogee, Fathammer, Sega and Epyx. The company now says more than 2400 developers have signed up for the Tapwave developer program and requested the software development kit (SDK). The majority of these developers are coming from established computing and entertainment platforms (e.g., Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Game Boy) and over 40% are from international markets.

Tapwave has recently made available new and improved software solutions for the Zodiac. Mac users can now sync and make use of the Zodiacs features with Mark/Space's Missing Sync software. The company has also recently released the Zodiac software 1.1 update.

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 Craig Simpson for the tip.

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Now it's time to play Metal Gear for real!

vesther @ 5/11/2004 8:14:16 PM #
I've been waiting since the release of the Zodiacs to actually test-drive one of these handhelds. Probably by the time the Zodiacs with newer software and technology gets released, I'm probably gonna get one of them, assuming that there are no quality problems thus far.

A Palm-Powered Handheld is the bread and butter for many people. Without a Palm-Powered Handheld, your progress is all for naught.
RE: Now it's time to play Metal Gear for real!
Hal2000 @ 5/11/2004 9:54:10 PM #
Hellfire and Microquad are amazing. Duke Nukem console quality anyone? Buy the way, the Zodiac is no toy. Mine is used 95% for business. But when that 5% of game use kicks in, look out. I'm building a whole city block on Broadway across from Lincoln Center organized entirely by my upgraded Palm. Hold this unit and you'll know why.

By the way Mike C., I have a *fekkin* filesystem and its real and its amazing.

1.128 gigs under the hood.

RE: Now it's time to play Metal Gear for real!
abosco @ 5/12/2004 12:07:52 AM #
The Zodiac 2 is perfect. Well, almost perfect. It's freeze-dried, except instead of adding water, you need to add Wifi.

NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616
New Zodiac Game
ChipKerchner @ 5/12/2004 10:30:46 AM #
We released a new game for the Zodiac last Friday called Pocket Mini Golf. It is a translation of the award winning PocketPC version. This may have been one of the games Tapwave was mentioning that would be coming to the Zodiac in the near future.

Pocket Mini Golf is a highly addictive miniature golf game with three courses of increasing difficulty, with eighteen holes per course.


- 3 Courses
- 4 Characters
- 18 Holes per course
- 2 Difficulty settings
- Integrated Highscore table
- Bunkers/Conveyor Belts/Water features
- Particle effects for sand and water
- Background music and real time sound effects
- Different games modes (Normal/Arcade/Practice)
- 480x320, 320x320, 176x208, 160x160 renderered in 65536 colors



SPAM disguised as a comment
;-o @ 5/12/2004 4:30:54 PM #
Thanks for the SPAM, Chip. Have you ever considered spending the money to actually BUY an advertisement here instead? Didn't think so.

You like me! You really like me!

RE: Now it's time to play Metal Gear for real!
abosco @ 5/12/2004 8:16:45 PM #
How is that spam? It's related to the story - even referred to in the article. Quit trying to act like you own the comments area - your sheer gross amount of post binges don't amount to jack.

NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

Poor Tapwave

jho4thclie @ 5/11/2004 10:44:43 PM #
Poor Tapwave... they have an ultra-cool product, but I can't help but think they'll be clobbered by Sony's PSP in the teenage/college portable gaming market.

RE: Poor Tapwave
dona83 @ 5/12/2004 2:13:51 AM #
I'm a college student :P Tapwave already got my vote of disapproval for the lack of IR port, therefore no connectivity to my wireless keyboard. PSP is just adding clutter to my already cluttered pocket. Tunsgten|T's good enough for me! Well I'd like the Nintendo DS, mmm.

RE: Poor Tapwave
aaronchow @ 5/12/2004 2:26:02 AM #
There is IR port for the Zodiac...

"I doubt, therefore I might be."
RE: Poor Tapwave
Scott R @ 5/12/2004 12:51:58 PM #
Yes, the Zodiac definitely has an IR port and it works just fine with the palmOne IR keyboard.


- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs

;-(( @ 5/12/2004 12:00:18 AM #
128 MB RAM + Bluetooth? For $400? This thing deserves to do well. Tapwave is so far ahead of everyone else right now, it's ridiculous. I have no interest in gaming, but the Zodiac 2 is worth picking up just to use as a PDA. It even has a nice screen...

Freedom of speech, baby. Gotta love it,

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
markgm @ 5/12/2004 8:49:28 AM #
It is a great device and I hope that tihs push into stores will help sell more of them. My brother got one of them and I was really impressed with it. I've thought about replacing my Clie with one a few times.

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
LiveFaith @ 5/12/2004 11:06:50 AM #
No doubt. This is a killer tablet 320x480 device with strong specs. Just too big for my personal taste, but necessary for gaming I guess.

I hope it does well.

Pat Horne; www.churchoflivingfaith.com

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
hkklife @ 5/12/2004 11:39:21 AM #
It'd be nice if Tapwave sells enough Zodiac 1s & 2s to fund two new future models:

1.A smaller GBA or Zire-sized device with one SDIO slot for truly pocketable gaming that was more PDA-centric (priced at, say $200ish)
2. A Zodiac 3 with OS6 & wi-fi utilizing the current formfactor.Or at least an OS6 unit with dual SDIO slots (can a Palm handle this or are the chipsets limited to a single SDIO slot currently?).

I still say either current Zodiac is of the best deals around for a powerful PDA. It's absolutely imperative for them to get better retail distribution. EBX would seem to be a must-have retail chain. Then again, most of the EB stores around here are sloppy, messy affairs with the shelves overflowing with software arranged haphazardly and junk like action figures & talking Home Simpson dolls crowding the shelves. Could they afford the shelfspace to maintain a decent stock of Zodiac software? Would they even care enough to? Remember, many people may buy on impulse and think that all of the software for a handheld gaming system has to be on pre-loaded MMCs.

Ideally, Tapwave could have gotten these things into CUSA 6 months ago (prior to Christmas '03) and would now be getting into BB & EB. I hope they can get developer support on track ASAP before the PSP and Nintendo DS arrive and the fighting really starts to get nasty. Also, Zodiac ports of lukewarm Palm games are not going to ever make for killer apps-I downloaded both MicroQuad racing and the new Hellfire chopper game from Astraware for my T3. While graphically impressive against Palm games of the past, they don't hold a candle to any current GBA title and the control is just hideous. I would imagine that these games played on a Zodiac still would feel less polished and offer poorer play control than even the cheapest budget-line GBA racer or shooter.

I'll be very eagerly awaiting Doom II on Zodiac. The Doom games on GBA are technically impressive but have some control issues. Doom has the potential to be the sole reason for the existence for the Zodiac as there is still no handheld out there capable of anything close to a PC-like experience playing even an 11 year old FPS.

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
Scott R @ 5/12/2004 12:52:50 PM #
It's plus-sized because of the gaming controls and the curves and contours actually make this thing feel a lot smaller than the physical specs might have you believe. Once these things are in stores I have a feeling that a lot of people who were worried that it would be too big will be pleasantly surprised.

Regarding the late retail release, I agree that a release to brick and mortars six months ago would have been great, but that's because we were essentially part of a "pilot" program. The OS was bug-fixed and upgraded with the recent 1.1 release and they will be switching to non-flash ROM for the retail release apparently to eliminate the possibility of pirate hackers from getting around the game copy protection. Too bad for honest consumers, though, since I really would have liked to have seen an OS6 upgrade.


- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
hkklife @ 5/13/2004 9:45:46 AM #
Well, at leat 128mb ram will be nice to have for the inevitable RAM-based patches. That's a real bummer about the non-flash retail units, though. Any idea if there will be an improved "bundle" or pack-in title for the retail units? Also, what's the early word on Doom II for Zodiac? I'd be interested in doing/seeing a 3-way shootout of Doom (original, not GLDoom or any fancy new edition) on PC, GBA, and Zodiac.

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
Scott R @ 5/14/2004 10:25:57 AM #
hkklife, there is some discussion about this game here by folks who have bought it and played it:

Basically, it's true to the original, which also means that the resolution is scaled-up lower res, rather than offering true 480x320. One user discovered that you can install other WAD files as well which is very cool.

FYI, Duke Nukem Mobile is supposed to be coming out in the next couple of weeks and will have sharper detail.


- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
hkklife @ 5/14/2004 11:49:27 AM #
.WADs?? Oh.....sweet! A friend and I spent the better part of the summer of '94 or '95 trying to do our school campus (or at least a section of it) as a WAD. We failed miserably but it was a helluva good time trying to do it. We then made a bunch of homebrewed DM levels. I never did learn to do level-building in 3 dimensions for the newer game engines, unfortunately :-)

Thanks for the link--gonna go and check on it right now. I'm also really looking forward to Duke Nuken as I thought its GBA port left a lot to be desired.

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
InsGuy @ 5/14/2004 5:16:11 PM #
I used to have the Zodiac 2. While the specs seemed impressive, I ended up selling the unit. It was rather large, and the case that came with the unit was so BULKY, there was never any real way of carrying it around protected. Other pda cases could be made to work with the unit, but overall, they too left a lot to be desired. In addition, I HATED how they stylus was secured on the BACK of the unit. If the Z2 (or Z1 for that matter) was secured in a case, you either had to wrestle it out and then get the stylus, or try and keep the VERY skinny stylus in the case holder, which often times let it slip out and get lost, leaving you with NO stylus whatsoever. Also, when using it as a pda (not agame device), syncing it with Outlook was near impossible. Most people in business use either Outlook or Lotus Notes. I contacted Tapwave's customer "NO" service for a good 3-rd party software to allow me to sync with Outlook, and after explaining to the customer service rep I don't speak Pharsi, finally understood they really don't know of any - yet. This was the last palm OS device I owned, starting from an M515, then a Tungsten T2, to the Z2. If you are wanting a game device, this is okay, but as far as a pda, I found the everyday use of this BIG unit to be lacking. IMHO.

All good things...
RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs. But CLIE will soon rule.
;-(( @ 5/16/2004 11:38:40 AM #
CLIE UX form factor + larger Zodiac-beating screen + more tactile keyboard + Bluetooth + 802.11b + 8 hour battery life = the Godzilla Palm power users have been waiting for for years.

Anyone want one? Got $550?

Aaron Ardiri: care to post some "anonymous" photos, buddy?

Freedom of speech, baby. Gotta love it,

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
Scott R @ 5/17/2004 11:54:01 AM #
InsGuy, I sync my Zodiac with Outlook all the time. I use Chapura PocketMirror since I already had it from my last Palm (a Treo 300). There are other options as well. Unlike most Palm OS devices, an Outlook conduit does not come with it, so you do have to pay extra for it, but it works fine.

As for the case issue, I carry mine around with just the flip cover. I had to RMA my original one because the flip cover is a poor design and it sits directly on the screen. After a little while I had wear marks on the screen. Tapwave exchanged it without a problem and I put a screen protector on the new device to eliminate this issue. I've heard that they were looking at modifying the flip-cover to make it slightly larger so that it will rest on the metal frame around the screen, which would be a wise move.


- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs. But it's still TOAST!
;-(( @ 6/3/2004 3:32:52 AM #
CLIE UX form factor + larger Zodiac-beating screen + more tactile keyboard + Bluetooth + 802.11b + 8 hour battery life = the Godzilla Palm power users have been waiting for for years.

Anyone want one? Got $550?

Aaron Ardiri: care to post some "anonymous" photos, buddy?

Make that $850 if you plan on buying a J-Spec™ CLIE UX-100 later this year.

At least now prices for the UX-50 should drop to a more reasonable $450 in a few weeks. Stock up: When they're gone, they're gone!

Tapwave is going to get Saddamized the same way TRG/HandEra did last year. Good ideas, good product, no support. They need to get themselves into Brick and Mortar stores ASAP. And not Sam's Club stores like the moron in charge of marketing at HandEra arranged three years ago.

Freedom of speech, baby. Gotta love it,

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
Winter_ @ 6/3/2004 5:49:44 AM #
Tapwave is going to get Saddamized

Joking about "saddamizing" after the last month worth of news from Iraq is quite prettily unfortunate - and unappropiate.

Find another way of trolling, facey.

RE: The Zodiac 2 has amazing specs
Token User @ 6/3/2004 11:32:00 AM #
Tapwave is going to get Saddamized the same way TRG/HandEra did last year. Good ideas, good product, no support. They need to get themselves into Brick and Mortar stores ASAP. And not Sam's Club stores like the moron in charge of marketing at HandEra arranged three years ago.

You smiley icons gotta get out more ...

From this link - http://www.tapwave.com/company_pr_05112004.html

Comes this quote -

"Mountain View, CA (May 11, 2004) - Today, Tapwave® officially announced that their award-winning Zodiac™ products and games for the Zodiac will be available, starting in June, 2004, in CompUSA stores nationwide. According to David Wenning, VP of Sales for Tapwave, "CompUSA is very focused on extending their mobile computing category and the well-rounded capabilities of the Zodiac are a perfect fit for this initiative." The Zodiac consoles, accessories and some of the most popular Zodiac gaming titles are scheduled to be on CompUSA store shelves by late June."

BTW - "Freedom of speech, baby. Gotta love it," ... couldn't agree more. YVMV.

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~


Galley_SimRacer @ 5/12/2004 1:55:35 AM #
Yeah, they had better get them in the stores quickly, because the PSP is gonna be out next spring.

Save Pepsi Blue!
Help save our beloved beverage
JonAcheson @ 5/14/2004 11:17:48 AM #
While the PSP will undoubtedly get some decent game support, I don't see it being successful in the long run. That thing is a BRICK, and battery life is not projected to be very good.

Nintendo, on the other hand, looks to be moving from strength to strength with the DS. That's your real competition.

Jon Acheson

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

What is the deal with no Wifi?

rmfuller @ 5/12/2004 7:49:37 AM #
I don't get it. Zodiac seems relatively high end, and no wifi. Most of the Palm1s - no wifi. But all have Bluetooth. Seems like Palm1 has their microchannel architecture well in place. Only Sony adds wifi and, well, they have other issues.

With wifi all over and now voip, seems like BT will be relegated to add-ons like headphones and keyboards and printer connections. I thought that was the intent of BT in the first place? To replace all the wire clutter? Not to be a primary source of connectivity.

This is one thing that makes the PPCs look so good, the hardware selection for Palm OS seems limited. When do we get wifi on these things??

RE: What is the deal with no Wifi?
palmhiker @ 5/12/2004 11:25:47 AM #
I agree with what you are saying. However, of all the Palm devices out there, the Tapwave units would be the best to work with the upcoming (if they ever do arrive) SD Wi-Fi cards, as they have 2 card slots and mucho battery power.

I may pick one of these up if Palm's T3 replacement doesn't have Wi-Fi.

RE: What is the deal with no Wifi?
Scott R @ 5/12/2004 12:56:17 PM #
If I had to pick, I'd much rather have Bluetooth than WiFi since this allows me to check email or surf the web from anywhere that my BT phone can get a signal. With WiFi I'd be confined to rare WiFi hotspots and have to pay an extra charge for the privelege.


- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: What is the deal with no Wifi?
Winter_ @ 5/12/2004 2:21:41 PM #
Scott, do you mean you don't have to pay anything to chech your mail via your phone?

I have some WiFi spots not that far, and some are free...

RE: What is the deal with no Wifi?
blackicecivic @ 5/12/2004 11:17:42 PM #
Tmobile + GPRS + Bluetooth SE t68 + TT3 +$3 extra per month = email/internet anywhere my phone has service. While it would never compare to the speed of a connection via WiFi or a Bluetooth AP, the combo above has saved my bacon too many times to count when I would not have had the TIME to TRAVEL to my local WiFi Hotspot. What is the point in having a carry anywhere PDA if its main wireless connection is limited to these hotSPOTS? I know that the Zodiac has a pretty beefy battery and could support built in WiFi better than most other handhelds on the market, but I think they made a great decision to stick with Bluetooth until Tapwave decides to implement both wireless technologies.

I was under the impression that the Zodiac was meant to try to lure away GBA junkies, not the elite core of PDA users (although the 2 groups might arguably be one in the same). If this is the case, then the fact that bluetooth has enough bandwidth to support handheld gaming combined with its lower power draw makes it the OBVIOUS game-centric choice. Battery life is still king here. You may only surf the internet for an hour or two, and you need only a few seconds/minutes to download email. A multilink blastfest is only as rewarding as it is long lived. Yes, I know that sony has made great strides in making WiFi more power efficient, but I would guess that maintaining a WiFi internet connection would be significantly less taxing than a WiFi gamelink for multiplayer games since the game units would have to be in constant communication with each other. No power save sleep mode allowed while your buddy is sneaking up behind to blast your DOOM character in the back...

And perhaps I am mistaken on this point as well, but are there not more bluetooth enabled accessories/expansion options designed for portable gear as opposed to WiFi (Datalink to Cell Phones, GPS, Printers, Datalink to certain newer cars such as the Prius, Wireless headsets, etc.)? WiFi seems to be great if all you need in a wireless protocol is the fastest access to the internet possible over the widest area possible.

The Zodiacs already sport 2 SD card slots, with the second being SDIO, so as soon as SOMEONE puts out the Palm drivers for a WiFi card this issue will disappear. Those that want it can add it and still use their storage card slot for other things.

But hey, I respect the fact that I could be way off base on all of the above...

RE: What is the deal with no Wifi?
Scott R @ 5/13/2004 12:02:46 AM #
"Scott, do you mean you don't have to pay anything to chech your mail via your phone?

I have some WiFi spots not that far, and some are free..."

When I'm at work, WiFi is not available but my cell phone has a signal. When I'm sitting around at the playground while my daughter is playing there's no WiFi signal but my cell phone has a signal. I've got a Sony-Ericsson T608 with Sprint and get unlimited data for about $10-15 per month. If I was a city-boy who lived near WiFi spots maybe I'd feel differently. But for me (and I suspect the vast majority), I've got a cell phone signal far more often than I've got a WiFi "signal."


- Tapwave Zodiac News, Reviews, & Discussion -

RE: What is the deal with no Wifi?
Winter_ @ 5/13/2004 7:55:57 AM #
Ok, ok, ok... :)

I'd say you and Scott are quite right. I only asked about the "cheapness" of Scott's phone connection. I only know of free WiFi hotspots, and am >80% of the time near any one, so I have never thought about connecting via cell phone. I had the impression that it couldn't possibly be cheap (I'd bet that here we have no flat rates available), so I wondered why Scott sounded like it free - or almost.

I DO know that some WiFi hotspots make you pay, but I have not had the pleasure of trying them.

But, just as my counterpoint to Scott: the nearest playground here is right beside the university's library, so there's just enough WiFi signal - and it's free. And I have a hotspot at work and another at home. So, in my case, WiFi would be just perfect.

If I had to travel to a hotspot just to check mail, of course I'd prefer the phone connection, even if it gets mildly expensive. And for sure, 99% of the time there's good cell phone signal.

I concur that Bluetooth should generally be the best choice for small devices. But next, WiFi would be a very welcome add-on - in my case at last.
(and note that I'd prefer WiFi as an add on rather than built in!)

Time to go non-linear!

RhinoSteve @ 5/12/2004 1:07:12 PM #
Year Zero "Genesis": Get the PalmSource license, hire the hardware / firmware designers and most of all, soul search with the Marketing / Industrial Designers for a form factor. Go through about a dozen product and company names 'til one indicates well.

Year One: "Preach to the Choir": Under the radar, give proto boards to elite developers, throw kick butt party in San Francisco before PalmSource.

Year Two "Coming Out": Direct Sales to non-elite developers and hardcore geeks. Start to create the "in the coffee shop" buzz. not let the Turbo Geeks from the Internet posts affect product planning too much since they don't have much cash to spend.

Year Three "Road Touring": Place in major retailers, get critical mass on titles, start to recover costs and make a name in the field.

any suggestions on Year Four?

-- Passive Agressive types need not apply.



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