The Gizmondo is a handheld gaming console released on March 19, 2005 by Tiger Telematics. The original device was called Gametrac and first published on its website in October 2003 regarding a new device being developed. In January 2004 it debuted as a concept product; it was renamed the Gizmondo in August 2004.
It was released in the United Kingdom on March 19, 2005. An estimated 4,500 units were expected to sell in the first hour of release but only 1,000 were purchased.
In Sweden, the unit was released in late summer 2005 and only 100 units were sold.
The device was heavily advertised and promoted. Formula One driver Jenson Button promoted the Gizmondo in a magazine ad, and Gizmondo’s executive Stefan Eriksson raced and sponsored a Ferrari 360 Modena GTC in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In February 2006, the company was forced into bankruptcy and discontinued with less than 25,000 consoles sold.
Unique features of the device included Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel camera, SMS & MMS, GPS and GPRS.
The Gizmondo had a 2.8-inch TFT screen with 320 x 240 resolution. It had a Samsung ARM9 400 Mhz CPU, 1.2 MB graphics RAM, 128-bit SRAM, 128 MB RAM, and 64 MB ROM.
It had a built-in speaker, Bluetooth for multiplayer gaming, a stereo headset port, mini USB, flashcard reader, and it was powered by a removable battery. Supported files included MPEG 4 for video, MP3, WAV and MIDI for audio, using the Windows Media Player 9.
A Gizmondo wide screen was planned for released in 2006 with a four-inch screen, Wi-Fi, TV-out support, higher resolution and a 2-megapixel camera. However, due to the company’s bankruptcy, it was never released.
An announcement by former Gizmondo director Carl Freer in early 2008 claimed a successor to the console, the Gizmondo 2, was intended to be produced by a new company named Media Power. It was planned to be released in May 2008, but was rescheduled to November 2008. By December the unit was still not available and the Media Power website is no longer online. No other information has surfaced on a new product.
Image Caption: The Gizmondo handheld gaming system. Credit: Evan-Amos/Wikipedia