The recently launched Gizmondo handheld console is set to receive a number of software titles from Microsoft Game Studios, with Gizmondo Europe today announcing a new deal with the software giant.

Key Microsoft franchises including Age of Empires and MechAssault will be appearing on the powerful portable system, while Rare's forthcoming puzzle title It's Mr Pants will also make an appearance on Gizmondo.

The system runs Microsoft's Windows CE operating system, which may explain in part the software giant's willingness to support it, and boasts a 400Mhz ARM9 processor, an NVIDIA graphics part, a digital camera, MP3 and movie playback, GPRS communications and GPS navigation.

"This deal strengthens the existing linkage between Gizmondo and Microsoft Game Studios," according to Gizmondo Europe managing director Carl Freer. "We welcome their enthusiasm and look forward to carrying the titles on our pocket-sized console. Our collaboration puts both Gizmondo and Microsoft Game Studios in a great position to meet all challengers in the handheld gaming market."

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