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Old 05-02-2005, 02:58 PM   #1
Bob Russell
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Future of Zodiac

Tapwave, the maker of the Zodiac PalmOS gaming PDA, has shared a bit of their vision for the future. The information is via a Tapland article and Byron Connell, the Sr VP of Marketing at Tapwave.

Sounds like they are aiming for multiple co-branded multimedia devices, and a strengthening of the platform for those purposes. There is also a list of new developments on the Zodiac front that will be good news for Zodiac fans.

While you're there, be sure to check out the rest of the Tapland site. One of the features I've noticed is that they always seem to have a list of the best SD card deals there on the front page.
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Old 05-02-2005, 03:54 PM   #2
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I am not convinced that this company can survive, and these "strategies" make me wonder more than ever. Partnering with others suggests that they don't have enough to go it alone. And alarm bells go off when I see talk of seeking new funds. This is possibly a plea to third-party developers not to abandon the Tapwave ship just yet. What's more there is no announcement of anything new that is real. Not a good sign. Philippe Radley
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Old 05-02-2005, 04:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radleyp
I am not convinced that this company can survive, and these "strategies" make me wonder more than ever. Partnering with others suggests that they don't have enough to go it alone. And alarm bells go off when I see talk of seeking new funds. This is possibly a plea to third-party developers not to abandon the Tapwave ship just yet. What's more there is no announcement of anything new that is real. Not a good sign. Philippe Radley
I'm a "glass half full" kind of guy, so I see this as potentially being very positive.

1. Partnering with other companies to co-brand and develop new devices using "Zodiac technologies" for multimedia, navigation and communications solutions. Sounds to me like it isn't really a niche but rather the way mobile convergence is trending. You'd need really deep pockets to go it alone these days considering how commodotized PDAs are, and don't forget that Tapwave is a small, privately funded startup.

2. Byron Connell clearly states that these OEM partnerships are done deals, future devices will (not may) incorporate "Zodiac technologies" and that a recent deal with a major Chinese company recently closed. This tells me that official press releases are forthcoming, and they couldn't publicly or even "unofficially" discuss these deals before they were done.

I find it somewhat ironic that you're not "convinced" that they can survive, yet it looks like they're taking the steps necessary to ensure that Zodiacs, in one form or another, will be around for quite some time.

Why?

The Zodiac is the world's first (and currently the only) multimedia & gaming centric PDA. It's getting more clear every day that they were ahead of the curve, saw this trend and acted on it before anyone else. The Tungsten X, rumored multimedia and gaming-centric Axim, and increasing popularity of portable video (*cough* "mass market potential" *cough*) as witnessed by the myriad of new PVP offerings are all testaments to the trend in handheld convergence. It looks to me like Tapwave was a "PDA Prognosticator". Based on Jupiter Research's predictions about the future of PDAs, two out of the three "forks" will probably have a number of devices using "Zodiac technology" thanks to Tapwave's OEM deals.

So to sum up: With these trends and Tapwave's partnerships, I'll have to respectfully disagree .


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Last edited by ballistic; 05-02-2005 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 05-02-2005, 05:07 PM   #4
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These are Byron's words: "... to developing new co-branded products for OEM partners (i.e., other leading consumer electronic companies)." I see nothing "done" there, but rather something being worked on. In any case, I put this together with Tapland's announcement 2 months ago that there would be no new Tapwave devices until next year. That's an eternity in this business, and this sounds to me like a lot of talk to assuage customers. I've always thought that part of their problem was that they could not decide what they were, producers of gaming devices or pda's. You feel the two mix, I don't, and neither, I think, does the public. The Jupiter report to which you refer speaks of a future of converged devices, but the convergence is with wireless (the smartphones that are now taking an ever bigger slice of the pda market). The Archos-like devices are video and gaming devices that do not seek to be pda's. PDA buyers are not looking for gaming devices, especially in the business sector, so Tapwave must appeal to the regular consumer, and if it is absent from the market for a significant period, with all the competition, it could well be forgotten. BTW, I certainly hope it isn't, as I love any Palm device. Philippe Radley
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Old 05-02-2005, 07:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radleyp
The Jupiter report to which you refer speaks of a future of converged devices, but the convergence is with wireless (the smartphones that are now taking an ever bigger slice of the pda market).
Wireless devices are one of the forks. Byron did mention "communications" along with multimedia and navigation...

Quote:
The Archos-like devices are video and gaming devices that do not seek to be pda's.
I guess you haven't seen this. I don't think it's a fluke that Archos is adding this functionality to their PVPs.

Quote:
A PDA buyers are not looking for gaming devices, especially in the business sector, so Tapwave must appeal to the regular consumer, and if it is absent from the market for a significant period, with all the competition, it could well be forgotten. BTW, I certainly hope it isn't, as I love any Palm device. Philippe Radley
I don't agree with your blanket statement (a good number definitely are). Besides, they don't necessarily have to be looking for a gaming device, and as Tapwave has said, they're focusing on multimedia. Plenty of non-gamers own Zodiacs, and if you spend any time in the forums at Tapland you'll see this for yourself. It's a very capable wireless PDA for email, web browsing, GPS navigation (Bryon mentioned navigation a couple of times), as a viable laptop replacement and multimedia device for reading ebooks, listening to music, viewing photos, and watching movies.

Combined with a BT enabled cell phone, you can browse the web, moblog, and fetch email (an on-screen thumboard would be nice ). Many Zodiac owners go this route instead of having a smartphone that would be inadequate for gaming and multimedia due to the small screen and poor button layout.

As far as mobile gaming goes, I strongly disagree as mobile gaining is no longer child's play.

With increasing convergence combining traditional PIM/PDA functionality with wireless communications, multimedia and even gaming, more and more devices will handle all of these roles as people don't want to carry multiple, single purpose mobile devices.

Brian

Last edited by ballistic; 05-02-2005 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 05-03-2005, 12:01 AM   #6
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Is Tapwave's "multimedia, navigation and communications" technologies really compelling and unique? I doubt it.
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Old 05-05-2005, 11:41 AM   #7
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Ballistic, if you look today at just the following sites, pocketgoddess.com, palminfocenter.com and palmaddicts.com, you will see all sorts of people interpreting the Tapwave announcement as I did, namely as the downfall of the Zodiac. Philippe Radley
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Old 05-05-2005, 02:04 PM   #8
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I've read the Gizmodo, Engadget, Mozongo, Pocketgoddess, and PalmInfocenter, PalmAddicts postings.

PalmAddicts is merely a mention and link to Gizmodo's story. IMO, PalmInfocenter and Engadget got it right, regardless of what people are saying and how they are interpreting things in the follow-up comments.

I guess we'll see soon. The way I read it, the Zodiac in one form or another, and despite the name on the front, is not going anywhere.

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Old 05-05-2005, 02:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ballistic
I guess we'll see soon. The way I read it, the Zodiac in one form or another, and despite the name on the front, is not going anywhere.
I assume you DO NOT mean "Zodiac is done and dead and will never succeed or go anywhere." But instead are you trying to say that "Zodiac devices are here to stay and will continue to thrive, but branded differently with a new name on the label. And that Tapwave's course adjustment will bring profitability through alliances that further the platform."
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Old 05-05-2005, 03:57 PM   #10
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I assume you DO NOT mean "Zodiac is done and dead and will never succeed or go anywhere." But instead are you trying to say that "Zodiac devices are here to stay and will continue to thrive, but branded differently with a new name on the label. And that Tapwave's course adjustment will bring profitability through alliances that further the platform."
What he said .

Seriously. If the forecast is rain, then you better be making Arks. If you want to build a bunch of Arks, it's better to have a huge Ark making company help you than to be building Arks all by yourself...

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Old 05-10-2005, 03:03 AM   #11
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I think we're witnessing the last gasp of Tapwave. What makes Tapwave so sure others can sell Tapwave technology any better than Tapwave itself?

Is Tapwave still making Zodiacs?
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