Gizmondo in bid to steal march on Sony

Handheld gaming device Gizmondo is to feature e-mail capability as it attempts to gain an early advantage over rivals Sony and Nintendo, which launch their handheld consoles in March.

Gizmondo, which carries a location-sensitive advertising medium called Smart Adds (MW August 12), will use GPRS (general packet radio service) technology to allow users to send and receive e-mails on the move.

The device went on sale in the UK at the end of October and already includes an MP3 music player, a digital camera and text and picture messaging functions. Gizmondo Europe, a subsidiary of the US mobile technology company Tiger Telematics, says more than 560,000 orders – mainly from outside the UK – have been taken since the launch of Gizmondo’s official website on October 29.

Mother and Carat were chosen to launch the next-generation games console in the UK. Mother developed a television-led multimedia campaign that included outdoor, print and guerrilla activity backed by a budget of about &£10m.

Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) has just been launched in Japan and goes on sale in the UK in March. It is Sony’s first foray into the handheld market, which has long been dominated by Nintendo’s Gameboy. Nintendo is expected to introduce its DS handheld console at about the same time and has allocated a “substantial” advertising budget to the launch.

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