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Tapwave Speaks
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It's been a trying time for Zodiac fans lately.  With clearance-style Zodiac prices in the UK, deep discounts in the US, Fathammer quietly removing the Zodiac from the list of compatible devices for some of its upcoming games, and Tapwave keeping their mouths closed through it all, the future was looking dim.  But...at last...Tapwave has provided some answers.

The following is some information, straight from Tapwave's Senior VP of Marketing, Byron Connell.  While many of his comments raise more questions than they answer, they do provide some reassurance to Zodiac fans that Tapwave's future is more positive than recent events might have us believe.

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Here is what we are focused on:

  • Tapwave is starting to transition from offering Tapwave branded retail products to developing new co-branded products for OEM partners (i.e., other leading consumer electronic companies).  These partners will be introducing future multimedia products based on both the Zodiac technology platform and Tapwave's next generation technologies.  This approach allows us to leverage other company's brands, distribution, marketing funds and geographic expertise. Some of these partner companies are interested in delivering a next generation gaming experience, but most (with the arrival of Sony PSP) are really focused on working with us to create other mobile solutions – e.g., rich multimedia, navigation and communication.  Of course, you can see this business transition starting to happen in UK as we speak. This was planned. To facilitate the move to a new OEM business model, Tapwave is also working with Dixons and other UK resellers to manage this transition. Customers are likely to find some good deals in the process and will of course continue to receive great support, etc.

  • Developing and closing new business and partnership opportunities. You should hear more about this in the coming weeks since we have recently closed a multi-product business partnership with a leading Chinese company.

  • Developing our next generation multimedia platform.

  • Raising additional funds to help drive future programs – yes, unfortunately this is an ongoing part of being a small privately funded company. Wish I had Sony or Nokia’s budget ;)

  • Consolidating our e-commerce software download to a single vendor. Note: Unfortunately customers in UK and Singapore will experience some store access issues during this transition which has just begun.

With that said, there are also some great new developments for Zodiac…

  • A new Zodiac API is back under development for hardware MPEG4 decode (to help developers take better advantage of the ATI chip for improved video performance). This one has been on my personal wish list for a long time as well. ;)

  • The new software driver for the Sandisk WIFI+256MB card is very close to release. The beta is currently available for download on our site. The card itself will also be made available from our online store shortly.

  • New web browser from Nvarra (Nweb) recently completed/enhanced for Zodiac and being readied for release. Very nice application.

  • Mapopolis GPS solution available and entire US Map collection on a single SD card. Works with both Bluetooth and SDIO based GPS receivers.

  • The high score reporting/tournament zone project is back in development. We will likely roll out a basic version in beta form first.

  • A new Bluetooth enabled version of Megabowling.is close to completion (much better than IR based, etc.)

  • Mototrax MTX (the 1st X-forge 2.0 title) is now GM quality and is still in line for release after final doc, testing and Activision sign off. Other Tapwave branded titles are on hold (not canceled) pending OEM interest.

  • Based on last week’s discussions with Fathammer, we are also expecting a couple more 3D X-Forge titles from them in the next couple months.

  • MessagEase for quick and easy input now runs on Zodiac. You can download the Zodiac version from http://www.exideas.com/ME/Downloads.html

  • Several other great new 3rd party apps/games that you are probably already aware of…etc.


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So there you have it Zodiac fans.  Let the rampant speculation commence!
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