Panasonic announces new gaming handheld
Panasonic reveals the Jungle, a new handheld device pitched squarely at the MMO market…
As Nintendo prepares for the launch of its next generation handheld in approximately six months’ time, Panasonic has announced a rival portable platform of its own.
Called the Jungle, the handheld marks the electronics giant’s first foray into gaming hardware since the ill-fated 3DO. It more closely resembles a netbook than a compact gaming device, with a full QWERTY keyboard, twin touch pads and hi-res, chunky display.
The last two decades have been littered with pretenders to Nintendo’s crown, of course, from early contenders such as Sega’s battery-gobbling Game Gear, Atari’s hulking Lynx, all the way up to the comparatively recent Bandai Wonderswan and Sony PSP.
Perhaps sensing the bitter fight it has on its hands, Panasonic is marketing the Jungle as a device tailored specifically for the MMO market – “We are online gaming” the handheld’s video proundly trumpets, introducing the first title announced for the Jungle, Battlestar Galactica.
The Jungle is also Linux-based, so will no doubt be ideal for fans of emulators, too.
While specifics such as RRP and due dates have yet to be fixed, the Jungle’s announcement comes at an odd time for Panasonic. The handheld market, for years dominated by Nintendo, is perhaps more uncertain than at any time since the late-80s.
With the higher-spec but pricey Nintendo 3DS still to be released, Sony looking to enter the mobile phone market, and the iPhone proving to be an increasingly popular device for games, the Jungle could arrive just as the handheld market’s battle lines are being redrawn.
Will MMO players respond favourably to the Jungle, or will they simply mistake it for one of those kitchen appliances that grill cheese toasties? Only time will tell.