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Panasonic unveils gaming handheld

Oct 5, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Panasonic unveiled a teaser website showing off a new portable gaming console targeting online gaming and MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games). The “Jungle” has a clamshell form factor with a QWERTY keyboard, and will offer Wi-Fi, a high resolution screen, and an embedded Linux operating system, according to reports.

Panasonic's teaser website for the Jungle device is exceedingly vague, but it flashes a photo of the handheld gaming device (pictured below). Gizmodo, meanwhile, got its hands on a better photo (farther below), and draws some additional information from various unnamed sources, some of which have said the device is based on Linux.

Panasonic Jungle

The tuxiness of the Jungle is confirmed by CVG (Computer and Video Games), which says the device offers a customized Linux platform. CrunchGear, which apparently broke the story, says that Android is definitely not used on the device.

According to the Jungle website, "At the core is a new mobile device concept designed specifically for online gamers. We're also working with leading online game developers to create some exciting new content."

Panasonic Jungle, side view
Source: Gizmodo

One early game will be the browser-based Battlestar Galactica Online" from Bigpoint, says the site. There also appears to be an online animated series associated with the device designed in conjunction with, called "Online Underground."

As for the Jungle handheld itself, the promo continues, "All we can say for now is that this mean little machine features a kick-ass display, touch pad, keyboard, and other gaming controls."

Unlike traditional gaming consoles, the Jungle is exclusively targeted at online gaming and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs), says Gizmodo.

"It could enable MMORPG addicts to leave their apartments for the first time in years," says Gizmodo. "So get ready to see that cousin of yours. Might want to have some sunscreen waiting for him."

Gizmodo had no further information on the device, but its sources suggested the device offers a high screen resolution, an HDMI port, and Wi-Fi. The device is said to be designed by Panasonic Cloud Entertainment, which the story defines as "a tiny(ish) startup company uber-Japanese mega-corporation Panasonic's planted in Silicon Valley."

As CVG, notes, the device arrives 17 years after the launch of Panasonic's last games console — the ultimately doomed 3DO device. 

Several other vendors have launched Linux gaming handhelds, but none has yet set the world on fire. This July, GamePark Holdings (GPH) announced a new version of its GP2X handheld game console called the Caanoo (pictured at right). The device pairs an ARM9 processor with a GPU, and is said to run open source Linux games.

There is also a Pandora community (no relation to the music site), which splintered off from GPH years ago to develop a Linux-based gaming handheld called the Pandora. First shown in January of 2008, the Pandora was made available for pre-orders in September of that year, but only began shipping in volume this year.

The Pandora is equipped with the Cortex-A8-based Texas Instruments OMAP3530 clocked to 600MHz, which includes an OpenGL ES 3D graphics core from Imagination Technologies.

Like the Jungle device, Pandora sports a clamshell format with a QWERTY keyboard. By contrast, the Canoo offers a classic handheld game console design, complete with a joystick and other controls on either side of the display. The Pandora also offers a larger, 4.3-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen, and supplies a USB port in addition to Wi-Fi.


Panasonic's Jungle teaser site may be found here.

The Gizmodo story should be here. The CVG story may be found here, and the CrunchGear story should be here.

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