Tiger Telematics has confirmed that a widescreen version of the Gizmondo handheld is currently in development and will hit the shelves next year.
The new machine has been developed as part of "a multi-million dollar R&D project" that will see the launch of "a number of different devices, all of which feature the unique combined functionality of games, music, movies, messaging, a digital camera and GPS technology."
The widescreen Gizmondo features a 4 inch screen and is said to offer consumers more choice in terms of specification and feature sets, as well as an "upgrade path" - more details of which will be revealed at a later date.
Processor power and memory have been increased in order to service a new suite of onboard applications, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2 and tri-band GSM technology will all be built in.
"We're dramatically increasing the processor power to above 500MHz on this widescreen model and significantly escalating the amount of memory," said Tiger's Steve Carroll.
"Although the 3D graphics accelerator used in the Gizmondo is the current best of breed, this next generation takes us visually into a new dimension."
Gizmondo boss Carl Freer commented: "Widescreen will favourably compare to Sony PSP but with even more power and features. Also, ensuring backwards compatibility and a clear upgrade path for future models is an integral part of our multi-product roadmap.
"A personal favourite feature is the TV/Video out connection which will enable you to play your favourite games on your TV, using the Gizmondo Widescreen like a console joypad," he added.
But this doesn't mean the end for the current gen machine, oh no: “Our primary focus right now is on the Gizmondo, its continuing UK retail roll out, and our impending US launch," Freer told trade magazine MCV.
"The sub-£200 satellite navigation package announced last week has prompted enormous demand, and the growing games catalogue that now includes the EA titles will continue to assert Gizmondo as a significant contender in the handheld arena."
The widescreen Gizmondo is due out next summer. Specs for the machine are as follows:
- GSM voice telephony
- Handsfree speakerphone
- Voice control using voice recognition software
- LCD TFT screen 4.0" 480 x 272 pixels
- Upgraded 3D graphics chip
- Analogue TV out
- 500MHz (min) processor
- Onboard RAM
- Onboard flash
- SD flash card reader, externally accessible
- Transflash card reader for user upgradeable flash memory
- GSM/GPRS 900/1800/1900MHz or 850/1800/1900MHz tri-band
- USB 2.0 OTG
- High sensitivity GPS receiver with assist capability
- Two analogue joysticks
- 3.5 Ah Li-Ion 'smart' battery
- 2 mega pixel auto focus camera with LED flash
- Stereo speakers
- Bluetooth class 2
- WLAN 802.11b/g
- Wired stereo headset/mic
- Remote control pod for wired headset
- SMS/MMS/IM receive and send
- Email client
- Satellite Navigation
- Audio and video playback
- Vibration mode
- 'Flight Mode' – games operational but radio services switched off
- Approved for sale initially in USA followed by Europe
- Temperature range 0ºC - 55ºC
- Windows CE 5.0 operating system and DRM 10
- .NET compact framework 2.0
- SD card and Transflash interfaces
- USB OTG interface for synchronisation to a PC and connecting to a USB memory device
- MP3/WMA/HE-AAC audio playback, MPEG-4/H.264/WMV video playback with hardware acceleration
- High level 3D games
- Smart ADDsTM
- Downloadable screen 2D & 3D 'skins' for personalisation/market positioning
- Bluetooth support for telephony (Headset/Handsfree), gaming, stereo headset (AV)