Gizmondo launches in the UK

New handheld set to ship with pre-pay Vodafone SIM already installed.

Tiger Telematics has announced a deal with Vodafone UK which will see the Gizmondo handheld device, which launched on Saturday, shipping with a pre-pay SIM card.

The card will enable consumers to use their Gizmondo for sending and receiving texts and emails and utilise the handheld's GPRS functions. In addition, users will be able to opt-in to receive SmartAdds - a new form of digital marketing which targets consumers according to information they supplied on registration, such as age, sex and location.

The Gizmondo itself is a powerful unit which runs the Windows CE.NET operating system, and as well as playing games, can play back movies and music, take photographs, use the GPS system to provide location information and communicate over SMS, picture messaging and email using GPRS network capabilities.

"The contract-free pre-pay SIM is there to open up the Gizmondo to a massive range of communication and exciting GPS features, without an additional contract," said Gizmondo MD Carl Freer. "The strength and infrastructure of the Vodafone network, and its customer commitment as a whole, will be an invaluable asset."

The Gizmondo launched in the UK on Saturday, with the opening of a flagship store on Regent Street. An evening event took place at the Park Lane hotel, Piccadilly, with performances by high profile acts including Sting, Jamiroquai and Busta Rhymes.

European and North American launches are expected to follow soon, but there has not yet been an announcement as to whether similar mobile network deals are in place for other territories.

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